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Abram Herbert Lewis, D. D., LL. D, 




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THE lldRAffY OF 
Two Oo'^iee HEcervED 

JAN. 24 1902 


Copyright, 1888, 1902 


In view of the immediate attention directed 
toward Sunday legislation in the State and city of 
New York, and its increasing and pressing impor- 
tance in other States where new legislation is being 
considered or is in progress, and in response to a 
demand frequently expressed, this volume has 
been revised and brought down to the current 
year. The summary of Sunday legislation in the 
United States since the first edition was pub- 
lished, which appears in Chapter XI, makes the 
book a timely and complete compendium of Sun- 
day legislation for sixteen hundred and eighty 
years. No such exposition of the subject exists 
in popular form in this countr}^ or in Europe, 
and it is believed that this edition will be found 
of great practical value in New York and through- 
out the United States. 

The material added shows the status of our 
Sunday laws at the opening of 1902. In securing 
these latest facts the *' Session Laws '* of all the 
States have been examined, and the facts secured 
thus have been confirmed by personal correspond- 
ence with the Governor of each State. This 


iv Preface to New Edition. 

book will be of great value to lawyers and legis- 
lators, as well as a popular treatise for the com- 
mon reader. 

The acute and widespread interest in the 
situation in New York is justified by the gravity 
of that situation. The late municipal election in 
that city turned upon the question of Sunday 
legislation and its relation to the liquor traffic. 
The widely divergent opinions of those who 
must meet the issues forced to the front by the 
present situation, indicate the need of a study of 
the whole question of Sunday legislation such as 
has not been made by the American people nor 
by their legislators. This book furnishes ample 
and accurate material for such study. 

The purity of municipal government in the 
United States is a potent factor in national politics 
and destiny. New York city determines the po- 
litical status of the Empire State in a large de- 
gree. Sunday legislation is now a determining 
factor in the politics of the city. The Reform 
Party in power came in on that issue, and coming 
elections will turn around the same issue. It will 
be possible for the State of New York to decide 
the next national election ; hence the question of 
Sunday legislation in the immediate future may 
determine who shall be the next President of the 
United States. With such possibilities in sight, 
the facts spread over the following pages may 
well command attention and study. 

Sunday legislation, unsupported by a State 

Preface to New Edition. v 

Church, has had no adequate test in history until 
within the last century in the United States. The 
organic unity of history and the relation between 
causes and effects must be recognized in consider- 
ing the present situation. That situation has not 
come by accident. It has been evolved through 
the loss of religious regard for Sunday, compul- 
sory idleness on Sunday, and a system of legisla- 
tion which has made the liquor traffic a great 
commercial and political power, protected and 
legalized on other days, but made criminal on 
Sunday. Sunday is the harvest-day for the sa- 
loon and the brothel, in no small degree, through 
the causes just mentioned. The powerful liquor 
traffic will continue to fatten on Sunday by legal 
permission, or by purchased permission, through 
blackmail. Leisure demanded by religious con- 
victions is a blessing. Idleness enforced by law \ 1/ 
is a curse which fosters all the lower vices. These | 
facts form the crux of the present situation touch- 
ing Sunday legislation in New York and in the 
United States. Every man is bound to study 
such a situation and the causes which have pro- 
duced it and which will continue it unless new 
ground is taken. No intelligent consideration of 
the case, as it is now focalized in New York and 
as it exists in the country at large, can be made 
without a knowledge of the sources from which 
Sunday legislation has come and the results its 
evolution has produced. Hence the value of this 
book at this time. 

vi Preface to New Edition. 

It must also be kept in mind that the present 
situation is not fortuitous, but inevitable. Ade- 
quate and imperative causes lie back of all such 
results in history. The evolution of fundamental 
principles creates such crises, and these come 
with little regard for our choices, though our ex- 
periments and mistakes may hasten or retard them. 
Epochs and crises are the verdicts of history con- 
cerning the plans and theories of men. To escape 
from these verdicts is impossible. To persist in 
a given course against them is ruinous. Neither 
prayers, creeds, nor ballots can check the evolu- 
tions of history or discount their final results. 

Sunday legislation began in the Pagan State 
Church of the Roman Empire, as the following 
pages show. To the Romans religion was only a 
department of civil government. The emperor 
had absolute power to appoint days in honor of 
the gods, and the first Sunday edict was purely 
Pagan in honor of the Sun God. Much of the 
genius of the Roman Empire passed into the first 
great State Church — the Roman Catholic. Legis- 
lation touching Sunday and many associate days 
was a prominent feature in the history of that 
Church through the centuries of its supremacy 
in Europe. The reformers of the sixteenth cen- 
tury continued such legislation. Puritanism in- 
vented a new religious theory of Sunday observ- 
ance and supported it by rigid civil laws. These 
were fully enforced under the Theocracy of the 
Colonial Period in America. From that time to 

Preface to New Edition. vii 

the present the evolution of Sunday legislation in 
the United States has gone forward rapidly, and 
the following verdicts now demand consideration : 
(i) The successful enforcement of Sunday legis- 
lation has never been attained except when men 
have had conscientious regard for it because im- 
posed by the State Church, as under Roman 
Catholic rule, or because of divine authority be- 
lieved to be embodied in the civil law, as under 
Cromwell and in the New England Theocracy. 

(2) The evolution of Sunday legislation under 
the State-Church system in Europe has resulted 
in the ** Continental Sunday/' That result was 

(3) Christians and non-Christians now agree 
that Sunday laws can not be enforced on religious 
grounds ; nevertheless, the Sunday laws continue 
to be self-contradictory by making things which 
are intrinsically good and desirable up to twelve 
o'clock on Saturday night criminal for the next 
twenty-four hours. A law which makes it a crime 
not to be idle for a specific number of hours in 
each week can not stand the tests of logic and 
common sense in this twentieth century. 

(4) Enforced idleness, under Sunday laws, 
strengthens the saloon and the brothel, and makes 
Sunday their best harvest-time. This is one rea- 
son why the saloon seeks for legalized opening. 

(5) The worst evils of the present time will 
continue and increase until idleness on Sunday is 
made permissive and not compulsory. Com- 

viii Preface to New Edition. 

pelling all men to be idle on a given day, when 
religious convictions do not demand idleness, fos- 
ters the lower types of holidayism and debauch- 
ery. The situation in New York city is an index 
of the situation in all our larger cities. 

(6) Two alternatives are at the door, and the 
American people must choose between them : 

{a) The strengthening and perpetuating of the 
liquor traffic and its associate evils, through the 
present system of compulsory idleness on Sun- 
days, and legalized saloons on all other days. 

{p) A new departure which will secure per- 
missive and protected rest to each employed per- 
son for one day in the week, the day being deter- 
mined by the employed person and the employer. 
Meanwhile, legislation touching the liquor traffic 
should separate that traffic from all other forms of 

(7) These are some of the verdicts which his- 
tory has recorded concerning Sunday legislation ; 
prayers and politics will strive in vain to evade 
them or the logical results yet to follow. 

A. H. L. 

January^ igo2* 


This book enters a field not hitherto occupied 
in the literature of the Sunday question. Sun- 
day legislation is more than fifteen centuries old, 
but the general reader has not hitherto been 
able to know accurately either its extent, or its 
specific character. The following pages answer 
many questions which are pressing to the front. 
Existing Sunday laws are much disregarded, and 
many contradictory theories are put forth rela- 
tive to them. Much that is said concerning them 
is superficial and impertinent, because men do 
not understand their origin or their history. 
The surpassing value of the '' historic argument '' 
is slowly gaining recognition. History is an or- 
ganic whole, a series of reciprocal causes and 
effects. No period can be separated from that 
which has gone before, nor be kept distinct from 
that which follows. Herein lies the value of 


X Preface. 

facts like those which compose this volume. 
Every effort to remodel existing Sunday legisla- 
tion, or to forecast its future, must be made in 
the light of the past. It is not the province of 
this volume to pursue an argument relative to 
Sunday legislation, but rather to present those 
facts on which intelligent conclusions must be 

The first Sunday legislation was the product 
of that pagan conception, so fully developed by 
the Romans, which made religion a department 
of the state. This was diametrically opposed to 
the genius of New Testament Christianity. It 
did not find favor in the Church until Christian- 
ity had been deeply corrupted through the in- 
fluence of Gnosticism and kindred pagan errors. 
The Emperor Constantine, while still a heathen — 
if indeed he was ever otherwise — issued the first 
Sunday edict by virtue of his power as Pontifex 
Maximus in all matters of religion, especially in 
the appointment of sacred days. This law was 
pagan in every particular. 

Sunday legislation between the time of Con- 
stantine and the fall of the empire was a combina- 
tion of the Pagan, Christian, and Jewish cults. 
Many other holidays — mostly pagan festivals 
baptized with new names and slightly modified — 

Preface. xi 

were associated, in the same laws, with the 

During the Middle Ages, Sunday legislation 
took on a more Judaistic type, under the plea 
of analogy, whereby civil authorities claimed the 
right to legislate in religious matters, after the 
manner of the Jewish Theocracy. 

The Continental reformation made little change 
in the civil legislation concerning Sunday. The 
English reformation introduced a new theory, and 
developed a distinct type of legislation. Here 
we meet, for the first time, the doctrine of the 
transfer of the Fourth Commandment to the first 
day of the week, and the consequent legislation 
growing out of that theory. The reader will find 
the laws of that period to be extended theological 
treatises, as well as civil enactments. The Sun- 
day laws of the United States are the direct out- 
growth of the Puritan legislation, notably, of the 
Cromwellian period. These have been much 
modified since the colonial times, and the latest 
tendency, in the few cases which come to direct 
trial under these laws, is to set forth laws of a 
wholly different character, through the decisions 
of the courts. 

In the Sunday legislation of the Roman Em- 
pire the religious element was subordinate to the 

xii Preface, 

civil. In the Middle Ages, under Cromwell, and 
during our colonial period, the Church was prac- 
tically supreme. Some now claim that Sunday 
'legislation is not based on religious grounds. 
iThis claim is contradicted by the facts of all the 
centuries. Every Sunday law sprung from a 
religious sentiment. Under the pagan concep- 
tion, the day was to be *' venerated" as a relig- 
ious duty owed to the God of the Sun. As 
the resurrection-festival idea was gradually com- 
bined with the pagan conception, religious re- 
gard for the day was also demanded in honor 
of Christ's resurrection. In the Middle-Age 
period, sacredness was claimed for Sunday be- 
cause the Sabbath had been sacred under the 
legislation of the Jewish Theocracy. Sunday 
was held supremely sacred by the Puritans, 
under the plea that the obligations imposed by 
the Fourth Commandment were transferred to it. 
There is no meaning in the statutes prohibiting 
*' worldly labor," and permitting '' works of neces- 
sity and mercy," except from the religious stand- 
point. There can be no '' worldly business," if it 
be not in contrast with religious obligation. 
Every prohibition which appears in Sunday legis- 
lation is based upon the idea that it is wrong to 
do on Sunday the things prohibited. Whatever 

Preface. xiii 

theories men may invent for the observance of 
Sunday on non-religious grounds, and whatever 
value any of these may have from a scientific 
standpoint, we do not here discuss ; but the fact 
remains that such considerations have never 
been made the basis of legislation. To say that 
the present Sunday laws do not deal with the 
day as a religious institution, is to deny every 
fact in the history of such legislation. The claim 
is a shallow subterfuge. 

Let the reader note that specific legislation 
against the liquor-traffic and its evils upon Sun- 
day does not come under this head. Such legis- 
lation is no more pertinent to Sunday than to any 
other day, except that as a day of leisure Sunday 
offers greater opportunity for rioting and crimi- 
nality. This is reason enough for the most strin- 
gent legislation against the liquor-traffic on that 

The writer is not unaware that the just and 
unavoidable conclusions to which the following 
facts compel, will overthrow many pleasant 
theories, and destroy some cherished hopes con- 
nected with Sunday legislation. Some minds 
will deem it sacrilegious to oppose these facts of 
history to revered notions, so long untouched. 
Such considerations are of little weight, when 

xiv Preface. 

one remembers '' that no question is settled until 
it is rightly settled/' Facts are stubborn be- 
cause they are eternal ; and the theory which at- 
tempts to ignore them insures its early de- 

A. H. L. 

Plainfield, N. J., January, 1888, 



I, — The Origin and Philosophy of Sunday Legisla- 
tion . , I 

II. — Sunday Legislation under the Roman Empire , i8 
IIL — Sunday Legislation after the Fall of the 

Roman Empire 50 

IV. — Saxon Laws concerning Sunday „ . . * 70 
V. — Sunday Laws in England . » . . .81 
VL— Sunday Laws in England during the Puritan 

Supremacy 115 

VII. — Early Sunday Laws of Scotland ; Law of Hol- 
land ; Early Sunday in Ireland and Wales 143 
VIIL — Sunday Legislation in America — Colonial 

Period 160 

IX. — Sunday Legislation in America — Colonial 

Period — {^Continued) 184 

X. — Sunday Laws of the States and Territories of 

the United States ,(^^.?^ , . , « 209 
XI. — Changes from 1888 to 1902 257 





The Sunday question is coming to the front. 
Some men demand a better enforcement of the 
Sunday laws. The masses almost universall}^ dis- 
regard them. The hour demands careful investi- 
gation concerning them. 

The original character of laws and institutions 
is not easily lost. History is a process of evolu- 
tion, whereby original germs, good or bad, are 
developed. In the process of development modi- 
fications take place, and methods of application 
change, but the properties of the original germ 
continue to appear. Neither legislation nor the 
influence of the Church have been able to prevent 
the development of holidayism and its associate 
evils in connection with Sunday. 

One of two causes must account for this. 
Either the people in the churches and out of them 
increase in wickedness, and therefore disregard 

2 Sunday Legislation. 

rightful authority, or else there is something radi- 
cally defective in the claims by which Sunday ob- 
servance is supported. The explanation lies in 
this last fact. It is wise, therefore, to seek the 
origin and the philosophy of Sunday legislation 
as they appear in history. Outside of Christian- 
ity, all religions have been ethnical. The Gospel 
is a message to the whole world. Christianity is 
the universal religion. It knows neither ethnic, 
social, nor intellectual distinctions. Rich and 
poor, bond and free, learned and unlearned, old 
and young, meet on a common level in the king- 
dom of Christ. This truth lies at the core of 
Christianity, and is its essential characteristic. 
Christ said : ** My kingdom is not of this world.*' 
He taught that while his followers must be in the 
world, mingling with men and doing the duties of 
citizens, they were yet under supreme obligation 
to his spiritual kingdom. Neither he nor his dis- 
ciples sought aid from civil government beyond 
the mere protection due to citizenship. They 
submitted to wrong rather than rebel against 
earthly government, because of their allegiance to 
the higher law. The great apostle to the Gentiles 
suffered persecution, bonds, and imprisonment 
rather than be disloyal to the kingdom of Christ. 
As a citizen, he demanded protection at the hands 
of civil government. If this were denied, he ac- 
cepted whatever punishment, even unto death, 
the civil law chose to inflict, that he might obey 
the law of God. 

Origin and Philosophy. 3 

Christianity stood between the Judaic theoc- 
racy and the Roman pagan state religion, far 
above them both. As Christianity moved west- 
ward, and gained social and moral power, the 
Roman state at length granted it legal recogni- 
tion. The character of that recognition can only 
be understood in the light of the Roman concep- 
tion of religion. Romans regarded all religion as 
a contract between the gods and the state. Re- 
ligion was a department of the government. The 
individual was nothing, except as a citizen. *' To 
be a Roman was greater than to be a king.'* The 
relation of the individual to the gods was lost in the 
relation which the citizen sustained to them. This 
contract between the gods and the state, bound 
the citizen to do certain things, and the gods to 
do certain other things in return. What the citi- 
zen should do was decided by civil law. When 
he should worship, and how ; what he should of- 
fer, and how much ; when he should pray, and 
what should be his prayer; this was the Roman 

Speaking of the religion of pagan Rome and 
of its consequent effect upon Christianity, Ernest 
Renan says : 

It was in the full force of the word a civil religion. 
It was essentially the religion of the state ; there was no 
priesthood distinct from the state functions ; the state 
was the true god of Rome. The father had over the 
son the right of life and death ; but if the son held the 
least important office, and the father met him on the 

4 Sunday Legislation. 

road, he dismounted from his horse and bowed down 
before him. 

The consequence of this essentially political char- 
acter of Roman religion was that it always remained 
aristocratic. A man became pontiff as he became pre- 
tor or consul ; when he was a candidate for religious 
office, he underwent no examination, he passed no 
period of probation in a seminary, he was not asked if 
he had an ecclesiastical vocation. He proved that he 
had served his country well, and had fought bravely in 
this or that battle. There was no sacerdotal spirit ; 
these civil pontiffs continued to be what they had been, 
cold, practical men, without the slightest idea that their 
functions at all cut them off from the rest of the world. 
In every respect the religion of Rome was the reverse of 
a theocracy. The civil law regulates actions ; it does 
not occupy itself with ideas ; and so one result of Ro- 
man religion was that Rome never had the faintest 
conception of dogma. The exact observance of rites 
compels the Deity who, if the petition be presented in 
proper form, has no inquiry to make into piety or the 
feelings of the heart. More than this, devoutness is a 
defect ; it implies a dangerous exaltation in the popu- 
lar mind. Calm, order, regularity — this is what is 
wanted. Anything beyond this is excess (super stitio), 
Cato absolutely forbids that slaves should be allowed 
to entertain any sentiment of piety; ^^ know," he says, 
*^that the master sacrifices for the whole household." 
Can anything be more civil, lay, peremptory than this ? 
Men must not fail to do what is due to the gods ; but 
they must not give them more than is their due ; that is 
the super stitio which the true Roman abhorred as much 
as he abhorred impiety. 

Origin and Philosophy. 5 

But we are altogether ignorant of religious history — 
a fact which, I hope, some other lecture will prove to 
you at a future time — if we do not lay it down as a fun- 
damental principle that Christianity at its origin is no 
other than Judaism, with its fertile principles of alms- 
giving and charity, with its absolute faith in the future 
of humanity, with that joy of heart of which Judaism 
has always held the secret, and denuded only of the 
distinctive observances and features which had been in- 
vented to give a character of its own to the peculiar 
religion of the Children of Israel. 

^^ Influence of Rome on Christianity," etc., "Hib- 
bert Lectures for 1886," pp. 16, 17. 

Before the advent of Christianity there was 
a strong tendency in the Roman Empire toward 
religious syncretism. It was deemed a matter of 
courtesy to recognize the religion of other na- 
tions, and to grant that religion the protection of 
the empire, especially when a nation was friendly 
to the empire, or was subdued by it. A pre- 
scribed form of prayer was to be used by the mili- 
tary representatives of Rome, who, having con- 
quered a nation, and made them citizens of the 
empire, were thereupon to pray the gods of that 
nation to transfer their allegiance and abiding- 
place to the Capitol of the empire. The ** Pan- 
theon *' in Rome still stands, showing how the em- 
pire provided a home for all the gods. It is on 
record that when Christianity, which was looked 
upon as a type of Judaism, had gained sufficient 
influence, a niche was offered in the Pantheon for 

6 Sunday Legislation. 

a statue of Christ and a statue of Moses, that they 
might stand among those representing the relig- 
ion of Egypt and of the Orient. It was not pos- 
sible that Rome should recognize any religion, 
except as wholly subordinate to the state ; to be 
protected and regulated by the civil law. When, 
therefore, at the beginning of the fourth century, 
circumstances combined to bring about a recogni- 
tion of Christianity, it was such a recognition as 
had been granted to the ethnic religions whose in- 
fluence had already become interwoven with 
Roman thought and practices. Christianity did 
not conquer the empire by subduing it to Christ. 
It gained recognition as having a right to the pro- 
tection and the privileges which the state might 
choose to accord. This recognition demanded, on 
the other hand, the right of the state to legislate 
concerning Christianity, and to treat it as one of 
many other religions, neither greater nor less, ex- 
cept as its influence might be greater or less than 
others. This general recognition was given early 
in the reign of Constantine the Great. It is not 
needful to delineate at length the character of Con- 
stantine, nor to prove what none deny, that his 
attitude toward Christianity was that of a shrewd 
politician rather than of a devout adherent. The 
empire was decaying under a combination of ad- 
verse influences. It was dying in spite of all the 
gods had promised. Certain success had attended 
his father, who had shown some favor to Chris- 
tianity. Christianity evinced great vigor, espe- 

Origin and Philosophy. 7 

daily in giving to its adherents supreme power of 
endurance under persecution. Constantine saw 
what seemed to him a greater power for good to 
the empire in the protection which this new re- 
ligion might give, than any which paganism had 
granted ; hence the recognition which came, under 
the normal operation of the Roman idea. The 
emperor, as pontifex maximus, had full power to 
legislate concerning all matters of religion. 

The influence of the emperor in his double 
office as emperor and pontifex maximus, was im- 
measurably increased by his deification. He was 
not only the supreme authority in all religious 
matters, but he was worshiped as a god. Some 
of the more noble of the emperors demanded less 
of these honors, while others demanded much 
reverence. One of the most infamous is described 
as follows : 

Caligula, however, who appears to have been liter- 
ally deranged, is said to have accepted his divinity as a 
serious fact, to have substituted his own head for that of 
Jupiter on many of the statues, and to have once started 
furiously from his seat during a thunderstorm that had 
interrupted a gladiatorial show, shouting, with frantic gest- 
ures, his imprecations against heaven, and declaring that 
the divided empire was indeed intolerable ; that either 
Jupiter or himself must speedily succumb. 

Heliogabalus, if we may give any credence to his biog- 
rapher, confounded all things human and divine in hid- 
eous and blasphemous orgies, and designed to unite all 
forms of religion in the worship of himself. 

8 Sunday Legislation. 

A curious consequence of the apotheosis was that the 
images of the emperors were invested with a sacred char- 
acter, like those of the gods. They were the recognized 
refuge of the slave or the oppressed, and the smallest 
disrespect to them was resented as a heinous crime. 
Under Tiberius, slaves and criminals were accustomed 
to hold in their hands an image of the emperor, and be- 
ing thus protected, to pour with impunity a torrent of 
defiant insolence upon their masters or judges. Under 
the same emperor, a man having, when drunk, accident- 
ally touched a nameless domestic utensil with a ring on 
which the head of the emperor was carved, he was im- 
mediately denounced by a spy. A man in this reign was 
accused of high treason for having sold an image of the 
emperor with a garden. It was made a capital offense 
to beat a slave or to undress near a statue of Augustus, 
or to enter a brothel with a piece of money on which his 
head was engraved, and at a later period, a woman, it is 
said, was actually executed for undressing before a statue 
of Domitian. 

Leckey, *' History of European Morals," vol. i, 
pp. 274-276, New York, 1869. 

The pagan religion of Rome had many holi- 
days, on which partial or complete cessation of 
business and labor were demanded. The follow- 
ing extracts will illustrate the attitude of Constan- 
tine, and the legislation which preceded his Sun- 
day law : 

Constantine, the first Christian Caesar, the founder 
of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire, and one of 
the most gifted, energetic, and successful of the Roman 

Origin and Philosophy. g 

emperors, was the first representative of the imposing 
idea of a Christian theocracy, or of that system of poUcy 
which assumes all subjects to be Christians, connects 
civil and religious rights, and regards church and state 
as the two arms of one and the same divine government 
on earth. This idea was more fully developed by his 
successors. It animated the whole middle age, and is 
yet working under various forms in these latest times ; 
though it has never been fully realized, whether in the 
Byzantine, the German, or the Russian Empire, the 
Roman church-state, the Calvanistic republic of Geneva, 
or the early Puritanic colonies of New England. At the 
same time, however, Constantine stands also as the type 
of an undiscriminating and harmful conjunction of Chris- 
tianity with politics, of the holy symbol of peace with the 
horrors of war, of the spiritual interests of the kingdom 
of heaven with the earthly interests of the state. 

But with the political he united also a religious mo- 
tive, not clear and deep, indeed, yet honest, and strongly 
infused with the superstitious disposition to judge of a 
religion by its outward success and to ascribe a magical 
virtue to signs and ceremonies. His whole family was 
swayed by religious sentiment, which manifested itself in 
very different forms — in the devout pilgrimages of Hele- 
na, the fanatical Arianism of Constantia and Constantius, 
and the fanatical paganism of Julian. Constantine 
adopted Christianity first as a superstition, and put it by 
the side of his heathen superstition, till finally in his con- 
viction the Christian vanquished the pagan, though with- 
out itself developing into a pure and enlightened faith. 

At first Constantine, like his father, in the spirit of 
the Neoplatonic syncretism of dying heathendom, rev- 
erenced all the gods as mysterious powers, especially 

lo Sunday Legislation. 

Apollo, the god of the sun, to whom, in the year 308, 
he presented munificent gifts. Nay, so late as the year 
321 he enjoined regular consultation of the soothsay- 
ers in public misfortunes, according to ancient heathen 
usage ; even later he placed his new residence, By- 
zantium, under the protection of the god of the mar- 
tyrs and the heathen goddess of Fortune ; and down to 
the end of his life he retained the title and the dignity 
of a pontifex maxtmus, or high-priest of the heathen 
hierarchy. His coins bore on the one side the letters of 
the name of Christ, on the other the figure of the sun- 
god, and the inscription " Sol tnvictus.'* Of course 
these inconsistencies may be referred also to policy and 
accommodation to the toleration edict of 313. Nor is 
it difficult to adduce parallels of persons who, in passing 
from Judaism to Christianity, or from Romanism to 
Protestantism, have so wavered between their old and 
their new position that they might be claimed by both. 
With his every victory over his pagan rivals, Galerius, 
Maxentius, and Licinius, his personal leaning to Chris- 
tianity, and his confidence in the magic power of the 
sign of the cross increased ; yet he did not formally re- 
nounce heathenism and did not receive baptism until, in 
337, he was laid upon the bed of death. 

Schaff, " Church History " (revised edition), vol. 
iii, pp. 12, 14, 15. 

Uhlhorn says of Constantine : 

At the beginning of A. d. 312, he seemed, to say the 
least, cool and non-committal. He had issued the edict 
of Galerius, and the orders concerning its execution, 
which, as we have seen, were but little favorable to 
Christianity. He was no doubt even then a monotheist ; 

Origin and Philosophy. ii 

but the one god whom he worshiped was rather the 
sun-god, the " unconquered sun," than the Father of our 
Lord Jesus Christ. But at the beginning of a. d. 313, 
he issued the edict of Milan, which was extraordinarily- 
favorable to the Christians, and took the first decisive 
steps toward raising Christianity to the position of a 
dominant religion. 

" Conflict between Heathenism and Christianity," 
p. 427. 

Joseph Bingham, the well-known writer on 
church antiquities, speaking of Constantine's Sun- 
day edict, says : 

This was the same respect as the old Roman laws 
had paid to their /m^^, or festivals, in times of idolatry 
and superstition. . . . Now, as the old Roman laws ex- 
empted the festivals of the heathen from all judicial 
business, and suspended all processes and pleadings, ex- 
cept in the aforementioned cases, so Constantine ordered 
that the same respect should be paid to the Lord's day, 
that it should be a day of perfect vacation from all 
prosecutions and pleadings and business of the law, ex- 
cept where any case of great necessity or charity required 
a judicial process and public transaction. 

" Antiquities of the Christian Church," book xx, 
chap, ii, sec. 2. 

Bingham states here clearly the fact that such 
prohibitions were made by the Roman laws in 
favor of their festivals, but adds, incorrectly, that 
Constantine made the same in favor of the " Lord's 
day,*' for, as we shall see, it was not the Lord's 
day, but the " venerable day of the sun," which 

12 Sunday Legislation. 

the edict mentions ; and it is impossible to sup- 
pose that a law, made b}^ a Christian prince in 
favor of a Christian institution, should not in any 
way mention that institution or hint that the law 
was designed to apply to it. Milman corrobo- 
rates this idea as follows : 

The earlier laws of Constantine, though in their 
effect favorable to Christianity, claimed some deference, 
as it were, to the ancient religion, in the ambiguity of 
their language, and the cautious terms in which they in- 
terfered with the liberty of paganism. The rescript 
commanding the celebration of the Christian Sabbath 
bears no allusion to its peculiar sanctity as a Christian 
institution. It is the day of the sun which is to be 
observed by the general veneration ; the courts were to 
be closed, and the noise and tumult of public business 
and legal litigation were no longer to violate the repose 
of the sacred day. But the believer in the new pagan- 
ism, of which the solar worship was the characteristic, 
might acquiesce without scruple in the sanctity of the 
first day of the week. . . . 

The rescript, indeed, for the religious observance of 
the Sunday, which enjoined the suspension of all public 
business and private labor, except that of agriculture, 
was enacted, according to the apparent terms of the de- 
cree, for the whole Roman Empire. Yet unless we had 
direct proof that the decree set forth the Christian reason 
for the sanctity of the day, it may be doubted whether 
the act would not be received by the greater part of the 
empire as merely adding one more festival to the fasti of 
the empire, as proceeding entirely from the will of the 
emperor, or even grounded on his authority as supreme 

Origin and Philosophy. 13 

pontiff, by which he had the plenary power of appoint- 
ing holy days. In fact, as we have before observed, the 
day of the sun would be willingly hallowed by almost 
all the pagan world, especially that part which had ad- 
mitted any tendency toward the Oriental theology. 

" History of Christianity,'* book iii, chaps, i 
and iv. 

Stronger still is the testimony of an English 
barrister, Edward V. Neale. These are his 
words : 

That the division of days into juridici et fertati, ^ 
judicial and non-judicial, did not arise out of the modes 
of thought peculiar to the Christian world, must be 
known to every classical scholar. Before the age of 
Augustus the number of days upon which, out of rever- 
ence to the gods to whom they were consecrated, no 
trials could take place at Rome, had become a resource 
upon which a wealthy criminal could speculate as a 
means of evading justice ; and Suetonius enumerates 
among the praiseworthy acts of that emperor, the cut- 
ting off from the number thirty days, in order that 
crime might not go unpunished nor business be impeded. 

" Feasts and Fasts,** pp. 5 and 6. 

After enumerating certain kinds of business 
which were allowed under these general laws, Mr. 
Neale adds : 

Such was the state of the laws with respect to ju- 
dicial proceedings while the empire was still heathen. 

Ibid,y p. 7. 

14 Sunday Legislatioit. 

Concerning the suspension of labor, we learn 
from the same author that — 

The practice of abstaining from various sorts of la- 
bor upon days consecrated by religious observances, like 
that of suspending at such seasons judicial proceedings, 
was familiar to the Roman world before the introduction 
of Christian ideas. Virgil enumerates the rural labors 
which might, on festal days, be carried on without en- 
trenching upon the prohibitions of reHgion and right, 
and the enumeration shows that many works were con- 
sidered as forbidden. Thus it appears that it was per- 
mitted to clean out the channels of an old water-course, 
but not to make a new one ; to wash the herd or flock, 
if such washing was needful for their health, but not 
otherwise ; to guard the crop from injury by setting 
snares for birds, or fencing in the grain ; and to burn 
unproductive thorns. 

"Feasts and Fasts," p. '^d^ ei seq. 

Sir Henry Spelman, who is recognized as 
high authority, in discussing the origin of prac- 
tices in the English courts, says that all ancient 
nations prohibited legal proceedings on sacred 
days. His words are these : 

To be short, it was so common a thing in those days 
of old to exempt the times of exercise of religion from 
all worldly business that the barbarous nations, even our 
Anglz^ while they were yet in Germany, the Suevians 
themselves, and others in those northern parts would in 
nowise violate or interrupt it. Tacitus says of them 
that during this time of holy rites, non bellum ineunt^ non 

Origin and Philosophy, 15 

arma sumunt. Clausum omne ferruin. Fax et quies tunc 
tantum nota, tunc tantum amat. 

Speaking of the origin of the English " court 
terms," Spelman says : 

, I will therefore seek the original of our terms only 
from the Romans, as all other nations that have been 
subject to their civil and ecclesiastical monarch do and 

The ancient Romans, while they were yet heathens, 
did not, as we at this day, use certain continual portions 
of Xht year for a legal decision of controversies, but out 
of superstitious conceit that some days were ominous 
and more unlucky than others (according to that of the 
Egyptians), they made one day to be fastus or term day 
and another (as an Egyptian day) to be vacation, or 
nefastus j seldom two fast or law days together ; yea, 
they sometimes divided one and the same day in this 
manner : 

Qui modo fastus erat, mune nefastus erat. 

The afternoon was term, the morning holy day. Nor 
were all their fasti applied to judicature, but some of 
them to other meetings and consultations of the com- 
monwealth ; so that being divided into three sorts, 
which they called fastos proprie^ fastos endotercisos, and 
fastos comitiales, containing together one hundred and 
eighty-four days through all the months of the year, 
there remained not properly to the pretor, as judicial or 
triverbial days, above twenty-eight. 

** EngHsh Works from Original MS. in Bodleian 
Library,'* book ii, p. 75. 

1 6 Sunday Legislation. 

Why such legislation was easily developed in 
connection with the Romanized Christianity of 
the fourth century, is set forth in the following : 

The Latin mind, less speculative, more practical, po- 
litical rather than theological in genius, while it touched 
doctrine only to exaggerate it, often in a very dismal 
way, was yet able to frame a church polity on the old 
imperial model, to build a civitas Dei where the civitas 
Roma once stood, giving to its visible head such abso- 
lute authority and divine honors as the emperors had 
once claimed, to its subjects such rights and privileges, 
only spiritualized, as the Roman citizen had once en- 

"Philosophy of Religion and History," A. M. 
Fairbairn, p. 302, New York, 1876. 

Many influences combined to bring about an 
unholy union between Christianity and Paganism 
at this time. The policy which Constantine pur- 
sued and the effect of it are well set forth in the 
following extracts from high authority : 

About the year 300, and since prosperity produced 
many ceremonies, the people (from Constantine's com- 
pulsion) presented themselves in troops to crowd into 
the church. But the simplicity of Christianity disgusted 
many who retained before their eyes the pomp and 
magnificence of paganism, wherefore it was thought ex- 
pedient to clothe religion with more splendid ceremonies 
that so the splendor of these ornaments might render it 
more august and recommendable. 

But, after Constantine had constrained all to make 

Origin and Philosophy. 17 

a public profession of Christianity, and Julian had re- 
vived the old demon worship, the carnal professors of 
Christianity, who were most numerous, though they were 
content to assume the name of Christians, yet were they 
not content to part with their pagan rites and customs ; 
wherefore, to compromise the matter, they turn their 
pagan rites into Christian solemnities ; and so christen 
their demon festivals under the name of some Christian 
martyr and saint. And that which made this design 
more plausible was this, some groundless hopes, by such 
symbolizing with the pagans to gain them over to the 
embracing of the Christian religion, which vain attempt 
was so far blasted by God as that it proved but a door 
to let in anti-Christ and all his demon worship into the 
Church of God. 

"Court of the Gentiles," by Theophilus Gale, 

part iii, book ii, chap, ii, sec. 3, paragraphs 

2 and 6. 



The preceding chapter shows that there was 
nothing new in the legislation by Constantine con- 
cerning the Sunday. It was as much a part of 
the pagan cultus, as the similar legislation con- 
cerning other days which had preceded it. Such 
legislation could riot spring from Apostolic Chris- 
tianity. Every element of that Christianity for- 
bade such interference by the state. The pagan 
character of this first Sunday legislation is clearly 
shown, not only by the facts above stated, but by 
the nature and spirit of the law itself. Sunday is 
mentioned only by its pagan name, '' venerable 
day of the sun.'' Nothing is said of any relation 
to Christianity. No trace of the resurrection-fes- 
tival idea appears. No reference is made to the 
Fourth Commandment or the Sabbath, or anything 
connected with it. The law was made for all the 
empire. It applied to every subject alike. The 
fact, that on the day following the publication of 
the edict concerning the Sunday, another was is- 
sued, ordering that the aruspices be consulted in 
case of public calamity, which was thoroughly 

Under the Roman Empire. 19 

pagan in every particular, shows the attitude of 
the emperor and the influences which controlled 

The following is the complete text of the laws 
just referred to. , It will repay the reader for pro- 
longed and careful study : 

First Sunday Edict. 

Let all judges and all city people and all tradesmen 
rest upon the venerable day of the sun. But let those 
dwelling in the country freely and with full liberty attend 
to the culture of their fields ; since it frequently happens 
that no other day is so fit for the sowing of grain, or the 
planting of vines ; hence, the favorable time should not 
be allowed to pass, lest the provisions of heaven be lost. 

Given the seventh of March, Crispus and Constantine 
being consuls, each for the second time (321). 

"Codex Justin," lib. iii, tit. xii, 1. 3. 

Edict Concerning Aruspices. 

The August Emperor Constantine to Maximus : 
If any part of the palace or other public works shall 
be struck by lightning, let the soothsayers, following old 
usages, inquire into the meaning of the portent, and let 
their written words, very carefully collected, be reported 
to our knowledge ; and also let the liberty of making use 
of this custom be accorded to others, provided they ab- 
stain from private sacrifices, which are specially pro- 

Moreover, that declaration and exposition, written in 
respect to the amphitheatre being struck by lightning, 

20 Sunday Legislation. 

concerning which you had written to Heraclianus, the 
tribune, and master of offices, you may know has been 
reported to us. 

Dated, the i6th, before the calends of January, at 
Serdica (320). Ace. the 8th, before the Ides of March, 
in the consulship of Crispus II and Constantine III, 
Caesars Coss. (321). 

" Codex Theo.,'' lib. xvi, tit. x, 1. i. 

It will be difficult for those who are accus- 
tomed to consider Constantine a '* Christian em- 
peror'* to understand how he could have put 
forth the above edicts. The facts which crowd the 
preceding century will fully answer this inquiry. 
The sun-worship cult had grown steadily in the 
Roman Empire for a long time. In the century 
which preceded Constantine's time, specific efforts 
had been made to give it prominence over all 
other systems of religion. The efforts made un- 
der Heliogabalus (218-222 a. d.) marked the 
ripening influence of that cult, both as a power to 
control and an influence to degrade Roman life. 
The following quotations will set the facts before 
our readers, and may be more satisfactory to them 
than would be the statement of these facts from 
our pen. When given due weight they explain 
fully the nature of Constantine's legislation, as 
well as that of much which followed his time. 
Schaff describes Heliogabalus in the following 
words : 

The abandoned youth, El-Gabal or Heliogabalus 
(218-222), who polluted the throne by the blackest vices 


Under the Roman Empire. 21 

and follies, tolerated all the religions in the hope of at 
last merging them in his favorite Syrian worship of the 
sun with its abominable excesses. He himself was a 
priest of the god of the sun, and thence took his name. 
'^ History of the Christian Church *' (revised edi- 
tion), vol. ii, p. 58. 

Gibbon describes the same period in the fol- 
lowing words : 

The sun was worshiped at Emesa, under the name of 
Elagabalus, and under the form of a black conical stone, 
which, as it was universally believed, had fallen from 
heaven on that sacred place. To this protecting deity 
Antoninus, not without some reason, ascribed his eleva- 
tion to the throne. The display of superstitious gratitude 
was the only serious business of his reign. The triumph of 
the god of Emesa over all the religions of the earth was 
the great object of his zeal and vanity; and the appella- 
tion of Elagabalus (for he presumed, as pontiff and fav- 
orite, to adopt that sacred name) was dearer to him than 
all the titles of imperial greatness. In a solemn proces- 
sion through the streets of Rome, the way was strewed 
with gold-dust, the black stone, set in precious gems, 
was placed on a chariot drawn by six milk-white horses, 
richly caparisoned. The pious emperor held the reins, 
and, supported by his ministers, moved slowly backward, 
that he might perpetually enjoy the felicity of the divine 
presence. In a magnificent temple raised on the Palatine 
mount, the sacrifices of the god Elagabalus were cele- 
brated with every circumstance of cost and solemnity. 
The richest wines, the most extraordinary victims, and 
the rarest aromatics were profusely consumed on his 

22 Sunday Legislation. 

altar. Around the altar a chorus of Syrian damsels per- 
formed their lascivious dances to the sound of barbarian 
music, while the gravest personages of the state and 
army, clothed in long Phoenician tunics, officiated in the 
meanest functions with affected zeal and secret indig- 

To this temple, as to the common center of religious 
worship, the imperial fanatic attempted to remove the An- 
cilia, the Paladium, and all the sacred pledges of the faith 
of Numa. A crowd of inferior deities attended in vari- 
ous stations the majesty of the god of Emesa ; but his 
court was still imperfect, till a female of distinguished 
rank was admitted to his bed. Pallas had been first 
chosen for his consort, but as it was dreaded lest her 
warlike terrors might affright the soft delicacy of a Syr- 
ian deity, the moon, adored by the Africans under the 
name of Astarte, was deemed a more suitable companion 
for the sun. Her image, with the rich offerings of her 
temple as a marriage portion, was transported with 
solemn pomp from Carthage to Rome, and the day of 
these mystic nuptials was a general festival in the capital 
and throughout the empire. 

" Decline and Fall,'' etc., vol. i, pp. 170, 171, New 
York, Harper and Brothers. 

Heliogabalus is further described in these 

He made it his business to exalt the honor of the 
deity whose priest he was. The Syrian god was pro- 
claimed the chief deity in Rome, and all other gods his 
servants. Splendid ceremonies in his honor were cele- 
brated, at which Heliogabalus danced in public ; and it 
was believed that secret rites, accompanied by human 

Under the Roman Empire. 23 

sacrifice, were performed in his honor. The shameless 
profligacy of the emperor's life was such as to shock even 
a Roman public. 

** Encyclopaedia Britannica,*' vol. xi, p. 564 (9th 

Under such an emperor came the triumph of 
Orientalism in the West. The sun-worship cult 
was peculiarly akin to the declining character of the 
Roman Empire. The lower phases, which found 
such revolting expression in the Baal worship, 
that contaminated the children of Israel, found a 
welcome place in the corrupted social life of dy- 
ing Rome. Hence this cultus continued and flour- 
ished during succeeding reigns. Aurelian reigned 
from 270-276 A. D. Speaking of the magnificent 
" Triumph " of this emperor in 274 A. D., Gibbon 
says : 

So long and so various was the pomp of Aurelians' 
triumph, that although it opened with the dawn of day, 
the slow majesty of the procession ascended not the 
Capitol before the ninth hour ; and it was already dark 
when the emperor returned to the palace. The festival 
was protracted by theatrical representations, the games 
of the circus, the hunting of wild beasts, combats of 
gladiators, and naval engagements. . . . 

A considerable portion of his Oriental spoils was con- 
secrated to the gods of Rome, the Capitol, and every 
other temple, glittered with the offerings of his ostenta- 
tious piety ; and the Temple of the Sun alone received 
above fifteen thousand pounds of gold. This last was a 
magnificent structure, erected by the emperor on the 

24 Sunday Legislation. 

side of the Quirinal Hill, and dedicated soon after the 
triumph, to that deity whom Aurelian adored as the 
parent of his life and fortunes. His mother had been an 
inferior priestess in a chapel of the sun ; a peculiar de- 
votion to the god of light was a sentiment which the 
fortunate peasant imbibed in his infancy ; and every step 
of his elevation, every victory of his reign, fortified super- 
stition by gratitude (vol. i, p. 361). 

In foot-notes, Gibbon further savs : 

He placed in it the images of Belus and of the sun, 
which he had brought from Palmyra. . . . His devotion 
to the sun appears in his letters, on his medals, and is 
mentioned in the "Caesars of Julian." 

Speaking of Diocletian, w^ho reigned from 284 
to 305, Milman says : 

The universal deity of the earth, the sun, to the philo- 
sophic, was the emblem or representative ; to the vulgar, 
the deity. Diocletian himself, though he paid so much 
deference to the older faith as to assume the title of 
Jovius as belonging to the lord of the world, yet, on his 
^accession, when he would exculpate himself from all 
concern in the murder of his predecessor, Numerian, 
appealed in the face of the army to the all-seeing deity of 
the sun. It is the oracle of Apollo of Miletus, consulted 
by the hesitating emperor, which is to decide the fate of 
Christianity. The metaphorical language of Christian- 
ity had unconsciously lent strength to this new adver- 
sary; and in adoring the visible orb, some, no doubt, 
supposed that they were not departing far from the wor- 
ship of the *' Sun of Righteousness.** 

Under the Roman Empire. 25 

In a foot-note, Milman adds : 

Hermogenes, one of the older heresiarchs, applied 

the text, " He has placed his tabernacle in the sun," to 

Christ, and asserted that Christ had put off his body in 

the sun. 

"History of Christianity,'' vol. ii, p. 215. 

The Manichseans, who arose about this time in 
Persia, present another phase of the sun-worship 
cult. They spread through the East and West in 
considerable numbers, and continued till into the 
fifth or sixth century. From Milman we learn the 
important fact that they were not only sun-wor- 
shipers, but observers of the Sun-day. He says : 

The worship of the Manichseans was simple; they 
built no altars, they raised no temple, they had no 
images, they had no imposing ceremonial. Pure and 
simple prayer was their only form of adoration ; they 
did not celebrate the birth of Christ, for of his birth 
they denied the reality ; their paschal feast, as they 
equally disbelieved the reality of Christ's passion, though 
they kept it holy, had little of the Christian form. 
Prayers addressed to the sun, or at least with their faces 
directed to that tabernacle in which Christ dwelt ; hymns 
to the great principle of light ; exhortations to subdue 
the dark and sensual element within ; and the study of 
the marvelous " Book of Mani " — constituted their de- 
votion. They observed the Lord's day. 

Ibid.y vol. ii, p. 274, 

In the last remark Milman scarcely saves him- 
self from the charge of an absolute misstatment. 

26 Sunday Legislation. 

The Manichaeans did not observe Sunday as the 
" Lord's day," their doctrine concerning Christ 
forbidding such observance. The fact that Sun- 
day was known at this date by some as the 
** Lord's day " alone saves the historian from ab- 
solute falsehood, when he states that '' they ob- 
served the Lord's day." It will be seen by the 
following that their observance of Sunday was 
purely a pagan observance. Geisler says of 
them : 

The worship of the Manichaeans was extremely sim- 
ple. They celebrated the Sunday only by fasting. 

"Ecclesiastical History," vol. i, p. 133, Philadel- 
phia, 1836. 

Neander says of them : ' 

In regard to the festivals of the Manichees, we may 
observe that they celebrated Sunday not as commemo- 
rating the resurrection of Christ, which did not suit 
their Docetism, but as the day consecrated to the sun, 
who was, in fact, their Christ. In contradiction to the 
prevailing usage of the Church, they fasted on this day. 
" History of the Church during the First Three 
Centuries," Rose's translation, p. 316, Phila- 
delphia, 1884. 

Such were the influences which preceded Con- 
stantine and surrounded him when he came into 
power. The following extracts show still plainer 
the character of Constantine and his attitude to- 
ward the sun-worship cultus, when the first '' Sun- 
day edict " was issued : 

Under the Roman Empire. 27 

Whatever symptoms of Christian piety might trans- 
pire in the discourses or actions of Constantine, he per- 
severed till he was near forty years of age in the prac- 
tice of the established religion ; and the same conduct 
which, in the court of Nicomedia, might be imputed to 
his fear, could be ascribed only to the inclination or 
policy of the sovereign of Gaul. His liberality restored 
and enriched the temples of the gods; the medals which 
issued from his imperial mint are impressed with the 
figures and attributes of Jupiter and Apollo, of Mars and 
Hercules ; and his filial piety increased the council of 
Olympus by the solemn apotheosis of his father, Con- 

But the devotion of Constantine was more peculiarly 
directed to the genius of the Sun, the Apollo of Greek 
and Roman mythology, and he was pleased to be repre- 
sented with the symbols of the God of Light and Poetry. 
The unerring shafts of the deity, the brightness of his 
eyes, his laurel wreath, immortal beauty, and elegant 
accomplishments seem to point him out as the patron of 
the young hero. The altars of Apollo were crowned 
with the votive offerings of Constantine, and the credu- 
lous multitude were taught to believe that the emperor 
was permitted to behold with mortal eyes the visible 
majesty of their tutelar deity, and that either waking or 
in a vision he was blessed with the auspicious omens of 
a long and victorious reign. The sun was universally 
celebrated as the invincible guide and protector of Con- 
stantine, and the pagans might reasonably expect that 
the insulted god would pursue with unrelenting venge- 
ance the impiety of his ungrateful favorite. 

Gibbon's "Decline," etc., vol. ii, pp. 250, 251. 

28 Sunday Legislation. 

Schaff says of Constantine : 

Yet he had great faults. He was far from being so 
pure and so venerable as Eusebius (blinded by his favor 
to the Church) depicts him in his bombastic and almost 
dishonestly eulogistic biography, with the evident inten- 
tion of setting him up as a model for all future Christian 
princes. It must, with all regret, be conceded that his 
progress in the knowledge of Christianity was not a 
progress in the practice of its virtues. His love of dis- 
play and his prodigality, his suspiciousness and his des- 
potism, increased with his power. The very brightest 
period of his reign is stained with gross crimes, which 
even the spirit of the age and the policy of an absolute 
monarch can not excuse. After having reached upon 
the bloody path of war the goal of his ambition, the sole 
possession of the empire, yea, in the very year in which 
he summoned the great council of Nicaea he ordered 
the execution of his conquered rival and brother-in-law, 
Licinius, in breach of a solemn promise of mercy (324). 
Not satisfied with this, he caused soon afterward, from 
political suspicion, the death of the young Licinius, his 
nephew, a boy of hardly eleven years. But the worst of 
all is the murder of his eldest son, Crispus, in 326, who 
had incurred suspicion of political conspiracy, and of 
adulterous and incestuous purposes toward his step- 
mother, Fausta, but is generally regarded innocent. . . . 

At all events, Christianity did not produce in Con- 
stantine a thorough moral transformation. He was con- 
cerned more to advance the outward social position of 
the Christian religion than to further its inward mission. 
He was praised and censured in turn by the Christians 
and pagans, the orthodox and the Arians, as they sue- 

Under the Roman Empire. 29 

cessively experienced his favor or dislike. . . . When, at 
last, on his death-bed, he submitted to baptism, with the 
remark, ** Now let us cast away all duplicity^'' he hon- 
estly admitted the conflict of two antagonistic principles 
which swayed his private character and public life. 

** Church History,'* vol. iii, p. 16, et seq. (revised 
edition), 1884. 

The degenerate state of the Church during the 
Constantinian period, through the admixture of 
heathen influences, is also set forth by Dr. SchafE 
as follows : 

In the Christian martyr-worship and saint-worship 
which now spread with giant strides over the whole 
Christian world, we can not possibly mistake the succes- 
sion of the pagan worship of gods and heroes with its 
noisy popular festivities. Augustine puts into the mouth 
of a heathen the question, "Wherefore must we for- 
sake gods which the Christians themselves worship with 
us ?*' He deplores the frequent revels and amusements 
at the tombs of the martyrs, though he thinks that allow- 
ances should be made for these weaknesses out of regard 
to the ancient custom. Leo the Great speaks of Chris- 
tians in Rome who first worshiped the rising sun doing 
homage to the pagan Apollo before repairing to the 
basilica of St. Peter. Theodoret defends the Christian 
practices at the graves of the martyrs by pointing to the 
pagan libations, propitiations, gods, and demigods. 
Since Hercules, ^sculapius, Bacchus, the Dioscuri, and 
many other objects of pagan worship were mere deified 
men, the Christians, he thinks, can not be blamed for 
honoring their martyrs — not making them gods, but 
venerating them as witnesses and servants of the* only 

30 Sunday Legislation. 

true God. Chrysostom mourns over the theatrical cus- 
toms, such as loud clapping in applause, which the 
Christians at Antioch and Constantinople brought with 
them into the Church. In the Christmas festival, which 
from the fourth century spread from Rome over the en- 
tire Church, the holy commemoration of the birth of the 
Redeemer is associated — to this day even in Protestant 
lands — with the wanton merriments of the pagan Satur- 
nalia. And even in the celebration of Sunday, as it was 
introduced by Constantine, and still continues on the 
whole Continent of Europe, the cultus of the old sun-god 
Apollo mingles with the remembrance of the resurrec- 
tion of Christ, and the widespread profanation of the 
Lord's day, especially on the Continent of Europe, 
demonstrates the great influence which heathenism still 
exerts upon Roman and Greek Catholic, and even upon 
Protestant, Christendom. 

"Church History,'* vol. iii, pp. 377, 378. 

Similar testimony is borne by the following : 

The first Roman converts to Christianity appear to 
have had very inadequate ideas of the sublime purity of 
the gospel, and to have entertained a strange medley of 
pagan idolatry and Christian truth. The emperor, 
Alexander Severus, who had imbibed from his mother, 
Mammsea, a singular regard for the Christian religion, 
is said to have placed in his domestic chapel the images 
of Abraham, of Orpheus, of Apollonius, and of Christ as 
the four chief sages who had instructed mankind in the 
methods of adoring the Supreme Deity. 

" History of Rome," by Thomas Dyer, LL. D., p. 
295, New York and London, 1877. 

Under the Roman Empire. 31 

These facts combine to show that Sunday leg- 
islation was purely pagan in its origin. Corre- 
sponding facts concerning Christianity in the 
Roman Empire at that date show that its influence 
was not sufficient tO/produce such a legislation. 

Apologists for Sunday incorrectly assume that 
the exception in favor of work in the country was 
due to the fact that few Christians dwelt in the 
rural districts. The words of the law give the 
true reason, namely, that the important interests 
of agriculture might not suffer. Similar excep- 
tions were made with reference to other heathen 
festivals. The number of dies non was already so 
great that justice was thwarted thereby, as busi- 
ness would have been without this exception. 

The numbers and influence of the Christians at 
this time were not sufficient to secure such legisla- 
tion had they desired it. Gibbon testifies on this 
point as follows : 

According to the irreproachable testimony of Origen, 
the proportion of the faithful was very inconsiderable, 
when compared with the multitude of an unbelieving 
world ; but, as we are left without any distinct informa- 
tion, it is impossible to determine, and it is difficult even 
to conjecture, the real numbers of the primitive Chris- 
tians. The most favorable calculation, however, that 
can be deduced from the examples of Antioch and of 
Rome will not permit us to imagine that more than a 
twentieth part of the subjects of the empire had enlisted 
themselves under the banner of the cross before the im- 
portant conversion of Constantine. 

*' Gibbon,** vol. i, p. 583, Harper and Brothers, 1883. 

32 Sunday Legislation, 

This twentieth part of the people represented 
the least influential portion of the state, socially 
and politically, and the law could not have been 
made out of deference to them, and against the 
genius of the pagan cultus. More than this, the 
law was not desired or asked for by Christians. 
Constantine called no council to seek advice, 
neither did he act in response to any appeal from 
Christians. As pontifex maximus of all religions 
which were recognized by the state, he had abso- 
lute power in all such matters. In this law he only 
sought to give additional honor to the '' venerable 
day " of his patron deity, the sun-god, Apollo. 
All this the most ardent friends of Sunday are 
compelled to admit. Schaff says : 

But the Sunday law of Constantine must not be over- 
rated. He enjoined the observance, or rather forbade 
the public desecration of Sunday, not under the name 
of Sahbatum or Dies Domini^ but under its old astro- 
logical and heathen title. Dies Solis, familiar to all 
his subjects, so that the law was as applicable to the 
worshipers of Hercules, Apollo, and Mithras, as to the 
Christians. There is no reference whatever in his law 
either to the Fourth Commandment or to the Resurrec- 
tion of Christ. 

" Church History,'* vol. iii, p. 380. 

Milman says : 

The rescript, indeed, for the religious observance of 
the Sunday, which enjoined suspension of all public busi- 
ness and private labor, except that of agriculture, was 
enacted, according to the apparent terms of the decree, 

Under the Roman Empire. 33 

for the whole Roman Empire. Yet, unless we had direct 
proof that the decree set forth the Christian reason for 
the sanctity of the day, it may be doubted whether the 
act would not be received by the greater part of the em- 
pire, as merely adding one more festival to the fasti of 
the empire, as proceeding entirely from the will of the 
emperor, or even grounded on his authority as supreme 
pontiff, by which he had the plenary power of appoint- 
ing holy days. In fact, as we have before observed, the 
day of the sun would be willingly hallowed by almost all 
the pagan world, especially that part which had admitted 
any tendency toward the Oriental theology. 

** History of Christianity," book iii, ch. iv. 

Thus, it is clear that antecedent influences and 
legislation, the nature and spirit of the first Sun- 
day law, the character of the emperor, who acted 
in his pagan, official, capacity as pontifex maxiniMS 
in issuing the edict, the state of the empire, and 
the corrupt character of the Church at that period, 
all declare the pagan origin of Sunday legislation. 
Another important fact is either ignored or care- 
fully concealed by most writers — namely, that the 
term '* Lord's day *' does not appear in any civil 
legislation concerning Sunday, until the year 386, 
more than tw^o generations after the date of the 
first law. Worse than this, many writers, whose 
high character should have prevented them from 
so doing, have spoken of Constantine's legislation 
as concerning '' the Lord's day " or *' Christian 
Sabbath." Such use of terms is not only un- 
authorized by the facts, but is historically dishon- 


34 Sunday Legislation. 

est. For the latter term, '' Christian Sabbath/' has 
no place in history, either civil or ecclesiastical, 
until the time of the Reformation. It would be 
as unjust to designate Paul, the converted apostle, 
by the name of Saul, the persecutor, as to apply 
the term " Christian Sabbath," as now used, to the 
conception expressed by '' venerable day of the 
sun '* in Constantine's legislation. 

The legislation which followed that of Con- 
stantine shows that the idea of exalting and 
protecting Sunday as a Christian institution, and 
especially as a sacred day, was not the prominent 
idea. On the contrary, this legislation shows that 
the pagan conception of a state church, which 
should control all religious matters, especially all 
days, whether fasts or festivals, was the central 
idea. As already noticed, the laws given above 
were issued March 7th and 8th, A. D. 321. The 
Sunday law was found to be too strict, and, in 
July of the same year, Constantine relaxed it by 
the following edict : ^ 

The august Emperor Constantine to Elpidius : 
As it seemed unworthy of the day of the sun, honored 
for its own sacredness, to be used in litigations and bane- 
ful disputes of parties, so it is grateful and pleasant on 
that day for sacred vows to be fulfilled. And, there- 
fore, let all have the liberty on the festive day of eman- 

* In some instances the numbering of the laws from the Theodo- 
sian Code varies from the order as found in Corpus JuHs Rot)iani 
Ante Justiniani, but the text is the same, 

Under the Roman Empire. 35 

cipating and manumitting slaves, and besides these 
things let not public acts be forbidden. 

Published the 5th, before the nones of July, at Cara- 
lis, in the consulship of Crispus II and Constantine II 


"Codex Theo.,'' lib . ii, tit. viii, lex i. 

It will be seen that this law introduced no 
Christian idea, and predicates the sacredness of 
the day upon the fact that it is the day of the sun. 

Nothing appears in the line of Sunday legisla- 
tion after this edict of July, 321, for sixty-five years. 
In 386 A. D., under the joint rule of Gratianus, 
Valentinianus, and Theodosius, legislation is taken 
up in which there is slight commingling of the 
" Lord's day " element with the pagan element. 
The evils rising from the degrading public shows 
seem to have interfered with the administration 
of justice, and to have corrupted the character of 
the civil judges. Hence, the first law in the year 
386 A. D. is as follows : 

The three august emperors, Gratianus, Valentinianus, 
and Theodosius, to Rufinus, pretorian prefect : 

I. Let no one of the judges be free to attend either 
theatrical representations, or the contests of the circus, 
or the courses of the wild beasts, except on those days 
only on which we were born, or obtained the scepter of 
the government, and on those days let them observe the 
festival only before noon, but after dinner let them re- 
frain from returning to the show. 

Yet all, whether judges or private persons, shall un- 
derstand that in the show no reward in gold shall at all 

36 Sunday Legislation. 

be given, this being lawful only to the consuls to whom 
we have granted the management of expending public 

II. We also give this admonition, that no one shall 
offend against the law just promulgated, nor exhibit any 
show to the people on the day of the sun, nor commingle 
divine worship with the completed festival (blood of slain 

Dated the thirteenth before the calends of June, at 
Heraclea, in the consulship of most noble, pious Hono- 
rius, and most distinguished Euodius (386). 

** Codex Theo.," lib. xv, tit. v, lex 2. 

Later in the same year, and by the same em- 
perors, w^e have the following legislation, in which 
the term ^' Lord's day '' appears for the first time 
in the civil legislation of the empire, combined in 
such a way with the sun's day, as to include both 
the pagan conception and the resurrection-festival 
idea, which had become engrafted upon the pagan- 
ized Christianity of the time. The law is as fol- 

On the day of the sun, properly called the Lord's 
day by our ancestors, let there be a cessation of law- 
suits, business, and indictments ; let no one exact a debt 
due either the state or an individual ; let there be no 
cognizance of disputes, not even by arbitrators, whether 
appointed by the courts or voluntarily chosen. And let 
him not only be adjudged notorious, but also impious 
who shall turn aside from an institute and rite of holy 

Published the third before the nones of November, 

Under the Roman Empire. 37 

at Aquilia ; approved at Rome the eighth before the 
calends of December, in the consulship of most noble, 
pious Honorius, and most illustrious Euodius (^2)^(>). 

"Codex Theo./' lib. viii, tit. viii, lex 3. 

Three years later this legislation was enlarged, 
grouping an increased number of pagan festivals, 
including the birthdays of the emperors, and the 
days on which they assumed the imperial office. 
It must be remembered that the emperors were 
worshiped as gods, and until a period long after 
this they were deified after death. The following 
is the text of the law : 

The three august emperors, Valentinianus, Theodo- 
sius, and Arcadius, to Albinus, prefect of the city : 

We command that all days shall be days for the ad- 
ministration of justice. It is proper that those days only 
shall be holidays which in the twin months the more in- 
dulgent portion of the year has designated for rest, for 
mitigating the heat of summer, and gathering the fruits 
of autumn. 

1. We likewise set apart, for rest, the usual days of 
the calends of January. 

2. We designate (also) the natal days of the greatest 
cities, Rome and Constantinople, on which justice ought 
to be deferred, because from these it also had its origin. 

3. Likewise we regard with the same reverence the 
sacred days of Pascha, the seven which precede, and the 
seven which follow ; and likewise the days of the sun as 
they follow each other in order. 

4. It is necessary to hold in equal reverence our own 
days, either those which brought us forth (to behold) 

38 Sunday Legislation. 

auspicious light — that is, their birthdays — or gave birth 
to the empire. 

Dated at Rome the seventh before the ides of August, 
in the consulship of Timasius and Promotus (389). 

'^ Codex Theo./' lib. ii, tit. viii, lex 19. 

There was evidently great disregard for these 
enactments, for three years later the following 
orders were issued to the city government at 
Constantinople : 

The three august emperors, Valentinianus, Theodo- 
sius, and Arcadius, to Proculus, prefect of the city : 

The games of the circus should be prevented on the 
festive days of the sun, in order that no gathering for 
shows may turn away the attendance from the venerable 
mysteries of the Christian religion, except on the natal 
days of our grace. 

Dated the fifteenth before the calends of May, at 
Constantinople, in the consulship of the august Arca- 
dius and Rufinus (392). 

A few days later, on the sixth day before the 
calends of June, these same emperors decreed as 
follows : 

All business, whether public or private, shall be laid 
aside for the fifteen days of Easter (392). 

" Codex Theo.," lib. ii, tit. viii, lex 20 et lex 21. 

The following bit of legislation indicates how 
thoroughly public shows were associated with 
public festivals. The reader will see that it is an 
order for certain theatrical shows to be exhibited 
on Christmas. The law is as follows : 

Under the Roman Empire. 39 

The Emperors Arcadius and Honorius, A. A., to the 
prefect of the city : 

Our imperial edict was lately published that the ex- 
penditure to be made for the theatre should be turned 
to the construction of an aqueduct; but now do you 
cause it to be properly granted so that the pretors, 
Romanus and Laureatus, may exhibit the theatrical 
shows on the birthday of our Lord. 

Dated the fourth before the calends of January, at 
Constantinople, Arcadius IV, and Honorius III, being 
consuls (396). 

" Codex Theo.,*' lib. vi, tit. iv, lex 29. 

Many of these public shows, under the degrad- 
ing influences connected with them — which degra- 
dation was of a semi-religious origin — had become 
so corrupting that they were forbidden upon all 
days. These were more dangerous when permit- 
ted on Sunday, because of the additional tempta- 
tion granted by the leisure attending that day. 
Hence, in the year 399, we find a special law for- 
bidding the debasing shows of the circus on Sun- 
day, but at the same time repealing the act which 
forbade the emperor^s birthdays to be celebrated 
on Sunday. The law is as follows : 

The two august emperors, Arcadius and Honorius, 
vO Aurelianus, pretorian prefect : 

On the Lord's day, which derives its name from the 
respect due it, let there be no celebration of theatrical 
sports, nor races of horses, nor any shows in any city, 
which are found to enervate the mind. But the natal 

40 Sunday Legislation. 

days of the emperors, even if they fall on the Lord's 
day, may be celebrated. 

Dated the first of September, at Constantinople, in 
the consulship of most illustrious Theodosius (399). 

" Codex Theo.," lib. ii, tit. viii, lex 23. 

In the following year these prohibitions are 
extended to the days of Lent, of Easter, Christ- 
mas, and the Epiphany, thus carrying out the idea 
which prevails in all the legislation that Sunday 
held no prominence over these other days. The 
additional law is as follows : 

The two august emperors, Arcadius and Honorius, 
to Hadrian, pretorian prefect : 

Out of regard for religion, we warn and decree that 
during the seven days of Lent, the seven days of Easter, 
by the hallowing of which and by fasting, sins are re- 
mitted, and likewise on the day of his (Christ's) birth, 
and on the Epiphany, let no shows be exhibited. 

Dated the day before the nones of February, at 
Ravenna, in the consulship of Stilicho and Aurelian 

" Codex Theo.," lib. ii, tit. viii, lex 24. 

Laws Concerning the Sabbath. 

An important fact relative to the legislation 
concerning the Sabbath must be here noted. As 
early as the year 214 a law had been passed pro- 
tecting the Jews in the observance of their feast 
days and the Sabbath. It is as follows : 

Under the Roman Empire. 41 

The Emperor Antonius to Claudius Triphonius : 
On their feast days, or Sabbaths, the Jews do not 
undergo any bodily service nor perform anything what- 
ever ; neither are they to be summoned into court on 
account of any public or private suit ; neither may they 
summon Christians into court. 

Dated the day before the calends of July, Antonius 
and Balbinus being consuls (214). 

^^ Codex Just.," lib. i, tit. ix, lex 11. 

In the year 409 two other laws, addressed to 
different officers, appeared recognizing the rights 
of the Jews, and also indicating that Christians 
still observed the Sabbath, and were not to be dis- 
turbed by legal business. The fact of this legis- 
lation, stretching over a period of nearly two 
hundred years, is important, as showing the con- 
tinuation of Sabbath-keeping. These laws are as 
follows : 

The two august emperors, Honorius and Theodosius, 
to John, pretorian prefect : 

On the Sabbath day and other days, during which 
the Jews pay respect to their own mode of worship, we 
enjoin that no one shall do anything, or ought to be 
sued in any way ; with regard to public taxes and pri- 
vate litigations, it is plain that the rest of the days can 

Dated the seventh before the calends of August, at 
Ravenna, our lords Honorius VIII and Theodosius III, 
both august, being consuls (409). 

The Emperors Honorius and Theodosius, A. A., to 
Jovius, pretorian prefect : 

42 Sunday Legislation. 

In respect to the Sabbath and other days when the 
Jews pay respect to their religion, we enjoin that no one 
shall do anything, and that no one ought in any respect 
to be pleaded against judicially ; yet, so that no license 
be given to prosecute orthodox Christians on the same 
day, lest, perchance, by the prosecution of the Jews on 
the aforesaid day, Christians shall be molested with fiscal 
affairs ; and as for private litigation, let the remaining 
days suffice. 

Given the eighth before the calends of August, at 
Ravenna (409). 

" Codex Just.,'' book i, tit. ix, lex 13. 

This legislation concerning the Sabbath is, 
like that concerning Sunday, in keeping with the 
genius of the Roman legislation, which aimed to 
grant certain rights to all legal religions. As al- 
ready suggested, these laws show that the Sab- 
bath was observed, and legally protected as late 
as 409 A. D. 

Laws Concerning Prisoners. 

This year 409 was prolific in religious and hu- 
manitarian legislation. Many abuses seem to 
have been connected with the prisons in the Ro- 
man Empire, and there was great want of care 
for the physical welfare of the prisoners. Hence, 
we find the following law, the reason for which 
seems to have been that Sunday, as a day of leis- 
ure and of semi-religious regard, was devoted to 
such humanitarian work. The law is as follows : 

Under the Roman Empire. 43 

The two august emperors, Honorius and Theo- 
dosius, to Csecilianus, pretorian prefect, after other 
things : 

Let the judges take care and ascertain by inquiry 
that the debtors are brought out of prison on all of the 
Lord's days, lest humane treatment be denied these 
through the bribery of the guards of the prison. Let 
them cause food to be supplied to those not having it, 
two or three pence daily, or as many as they may deem 
sufficient, having been assigned to the keeper of the 
prison, since the provisions for the poor are enough for 
their support. These ought to be conducted to the 
bath under faithful guards ; a fine of twenty pounds of 
gold being imposed upon the judges, and the same 
amount upon their assistants, and also a fine of three 
pounds of gold being denounced against the command- 
ers, if they shall treat with contempt these most salutary 
enactments. A praiseworthy care shall not be want- 
ing to the bishops of the Christian religion to impress 
this admonition for observing the ordinance upon the 

Dated the 12th day before the calends of February, 
at Ravanna, in the consulship of Honorius VIII and 
Theodosius III (409). 

'' Codex Theo.," lib. vi, tit. iv, lex 29. 

Still further humanitarian legislation occurs in 
this same year by which Sunday, the pagan feast 
of the harvest, the autumn feast of the vintage, 
the holy days of Easter, the day of Christ's 
birth, and of the Epiphany are all associated and 
protected. There is also an additional law con- 
cerning the shows on Sunday, and the celebration 

44 Sunday Legislation^ 

of the birthdays of the empire. The following is 
the text of the two laws referred to : 

The august emperors, Honorius and Theodosius, to 
Jovius, pretorian prefect, after other things : 

On the Lord's day, commonly called the day of the 
sun, we do not at all allow the exhibition of any shows, 
although perchance the dawn of our empire appeared on 
that day in the yearly cycle, or the festivities due to our 
birthday are deferred. 

Dated the ist of April at Ravenna, in the consulship 
of the august Honorius VIH and the august Theodosius 
III (409). 

" Codex Theo.,'' lib. ii, tit. viii, lex 25. 

On the Lord's day it shall be lawful to emancipate 
and to manumit, let other causes or litigations rest, and 
also during the feast of the harvest, from the eighth day 
of the calends of July to the calends of August ; from 
the calends of August to the tenth calends of September, 
causes may be tried; but from the tenth calends of 
September to the ides of October let there be the feast 
of the vintage ; also the holy day of Easter, the day of 
our Lord's nativity, the day of the Epiphany, the seven 
days preceding and the seven days following, we wish to 
be observed without noise, and whatever has been en- 
acted contrary to this is in all respects made void. 

'* Codex Justin," lib. iii, tit. xii, lex 2. 

In 425 A. D. we find distinct evidences that the 
worship of the emperor, a purely pagan practice, 
still continued in a slightly modified form. There 
seems to have been a recognition by the em- 
perors making this law, that the honors due them 

Under the Roman Empire. 45 

were not quite equal to the honors due Jehovah. 
Hence the following : 

The emperors, Theodosius and Valentinianus, to 
Aetius, pretorian prefect : 

If ever our statues or likenesses are set up, whether 
on holidays, as is the custom, or on common days, let 
the inscription be devoid of extreme adulation in order 
that the decoration may appear to have been added in 
honor of the day or the place and our memory. 

I. Likewise, images desired at the games merely in the 
thoughts and secret plans of the concourse of the multi- 
tude, should show that our power and glory are in a 
flourishing condition ; going beyond the respect due to 
the dignity of man should be reserved for the power on 

Dated the nones of May, Theodosius, A. XI, and 
Valentinianus, C. Coss. (425). 

*^ Codex Theo.," lib. xv, tit. iv, lex i. 

This same year witnessed a renewal of legisla- 
tion concerning many days, which shows that the 
pagan theory of placing all days and festivals 
upon the same basis held absolute sway, and it will 
be seen that according to the following law, Sun- 
day holds no pre-eminence over many other days ; 

The august emperors, Theodosius and Valentinianus, 
to Asclepiodotus, pretorian prefect : 

On the Lord's day, which is the first day of the whole 
week, and on the days of the nativity and the Epiphany 
of Christ, and also on the days of Pentecost and of 
Easter, as long as the celestial light and the (white) gar- 

46 Sunday Legislation. 

ments testify of the new light of sacred baptism (in our 
souls) ; at which time also the memory of the passion of 
the apostles, the supreme teachers of Christianity, is 
rightly celebrated by all ; all the pleasure of the theatres 
and of the circus throughout all cities, being denied to 
the people of the same, let the minds of all faithful 
Christians be employed in the worship of God. If any, 
even now, through the madness of Jewish impiety or the 
error and folly of dull paganism are kept away, let them 
learn that there is one time for prayer and another for 
pleasure. Let no one think himself compelled, as by a 
great necessity, in honor of our power or imperial office, 
lest he exalt the work of the shows to the contempt of 
divine religion ; neither let him fear that he will come 
under the condemnation of our highness, if he shall 
show less of devotion to us than is customary ; and let 
no one wonder because reverence is then turned away 
from our excellency, human born, to God the omnipotent 
and deserving, to whom the allegiance of the whole world 
ought to be paid. 

Given at Constantinople, February ist (425). 

" Codex Theo.," lib. xv, tit. v, lex 5. 

Legislation concerning' Sunday and its associ- 
ate festivals rested for about fifty years from the 
date of the foregoing laws. The empire was al- 
ready swaying toward its fall, and it is evident 
that the laws already made concerning festivals 
were regarded lightly by the people. In the year 
469 the essence of the preceding laws was em- 
bodied in the following enactment. It shows no 
departure from the genius of the pagan state, and 

Under the Roman Empire. 47 

thus proves that while the first law under Con- 
stantine was purely pagan, both in form and spirit, 
the last laws before the fall of the empire were 
not essentially more Christian. The legislation had 
been enlarged, commingling old pagan festivals, 
baptized with new names, and modified somewhat 
in observance by the tide of Christian life. The 
following is the text of this enactment : 

The august emperors, Leo and Anthemis, to Arma- 
sius, pretorian prefect : 

We wish the festal days dedicated to the Majesty 
Most High, to be employed in no voluptuous pleasures^ 
and profaned by no vexatious exactions. 

I. Therefore we decree that the Lord's day shall 
always be so held in honor and veneration, that it shall 
be free fom all prosecutions, that no chastisement shall 
be inflicted upon any one, that no bail shall be exacted, 
that public service shall cease, that advocacy shall 
be laid aside, that this day shall be free from judicial 
investigations, that the shrill voice of the crier shall 
cease, that litigants shall have rest from their dis- 
putes, and have time for compromise, that antagonists 
shall come together without fear, that a vicarious re- 
pentance may pervade their minds, that they may confer 
concerning settlements and talk over terms of agree- 
ment. But, though giving ourselves up to rest on this 
religious day, we do not suffer any one to be engaged in 
impure pleasures. On this day the scenes of the theatre 
should make no claim for themselves, neither the games 
of the circus nor the tearful shows of the wild beasts ; 
and if the celebration should happen to fall on our birth- 
day it may be postponed. 

48 Sunday Legislation. 

He shall suffer the loss of his office and the confisca- 
tion of his estate, who shall attend the games on this 
festal day, or shall, as a public servant, under pretense 
of public or private business, cause these enactments to 
be treated with contempt. 

Dated, December 13, at Constantinople, Zeno and 
Martianus being consuls (469). 

" Codex Justin,'' lib. iii, tit. xii, lex 11. 

Not one of the days included in the foregoing 
legislation can claim any direct authority from the 
New Testament, or the practices of the Apostolic 
Church. If all be granted which candid scholar- 
ship can ask concerning Sunday, there is only a 
certain presumptive evidence in favor of any ob- 
servance of it until after the Church passed under 
the control of pagan influences. But the point to 
be noted is that civil legislation concerning Sun- 
day and its associate festivals was purely pagan 
as to its origin. The feasts of harvest, the vintage, 
and of January, were all pagan in origin and char- 
acter, and the modification which took place after 
the introduction of Christianity was such as drew 
the Christians to the heathen practices, rather 
than such as raised the heathen up to Christianity. 
Indeed, New Testament Christianity knew no 
such festivals and no such observance. Its tenor 
is positively opposed to such legislation. The 
Church was not only degraded by the interference 
of the civil law, but more deeply corrupted by the 
inweaving of pagan philosophy and pagan prac- 
tices. These influences, and the complications 

Under the Roman Empire. 49 

which arose through civil legislation and filled the 
Church with self-seeking and unconverted men, 
made it impossible for Christianity to retain its 
primitive purity. This chapter leaves the legisla- 
tion at the dividing line between the falling em- 
pire and the middle ages. 



In the Roman Sunday laws given in the last 
chapter, we have a picture of the united Church 
and State, and the status of the Sunday and other 
festivals when the Roman Empire was broken in 
pieces by the tide of barbarian immigration. It 
will be well to note the general state of Chris- 
tianity before taking up the legislation of the next 

Christianity has gained a political victory, and 
suffered a moral and spiritual defeat. It has im- 
parted much of good to heathenism, but it has suf- 
fered far greater loss in its own purity. Worse 
than all else, it has become involved in a false poli- 
cy, the ripened fruitage of which can not be less 
than the horrors of the '' dark ages/' The controll- 
ing ideas in the Church are far removed from the 
teachings of him who said, '* My kingdom is not of 
this world.'* Beginning with Constantine, empe- 
rors unlearned in the Scriptures and unguided by 
the spirit of truth, were accustomed to decide what 

After the Fall of the Roman Empire, 51 

Christianity was, and what should be persecuted as 
heresy. Swayed by personal ends and political in- 
trigue, the orthodoxy of to-day was the heresy of to- 
morrow. Nothing less than a divine Christianity 
could have survived total destruction. The evi- 
dences of perversion and corruption are so great 
that no lover of truth can close his eyes against 
the need of reform which yet cries against the 
false theories that remain in the reforming but 
not wholly reformed Christianity of our own 
time. Under the policy of that time, whoever ac- 
cepted the legal standard was a Christian, who- 
ever did not was a '' heretic '* — religiously a 
criminal. Note the following testimony : 

The martyrs and confessors of the first three centuries 
in their expectation of the impending end of the world 
and their desire for the speedy return of the Lord, had 
never once thought of such a thing as the great and sud- 
den change which meets us at the beginning of this 
period in the relation of the Roman state to the Christian 
Church. Tertullian had even held the Christian profes- 
sion to be irreconcilable with the office of a Roman 
Emperor. Nevertheless, clergy and people very soon and 
very easily accommodated themselves to the new order 
of things, and recognized in it a reproduction of the 
theocratic constitution of the people of God under the 
ancient covenant. Save that the dissenting sects who 
derived no benefit from this union, but were rather sub- 
ject to persecution from the state and from the estab- 
lished Catholicism, the Donatists, for an especial instance, 
protested against the intermeddling of the temporal 

52 Sunday Legislation. 

power with the religious concerns. The heathen, who 
now came over in a mass, had all along been accustomed 
to a union of politics with religion, of the imperial with 
the sacerdotal dignity, They could not imagine a state 
without some cultus, whatever might be its name. And 
as heathenism had outlived itself in the empire, and 
Judaism, with its national exclusiveness and its station- 
ary character, was totally disqualified, Christianity must 
take the throne. ... . 

But the elevation of Christianity as the religion of the 
state presents also an opposite aspect to our contempla- 
tion. It involved great risk of degeneracy to the Church. 
The Roman state, with its laws, institutions, and usages, 
was still deeply rooted in heathenism, and could not be 
transformed by a magical stroke. The Christianizing of 
the state amounted, therefore, in great measure to a 
paganizing and secularizing of the Church. The world 
overcame the Church as much as the Church overcame 
the world, and the temporal gain of Christianity was, in 
many respects, canceled by spiritual loss. The mass of 
the Roman Empire was baptized only with water, not 
with the spirit and fire of the gospel, and it smuggled 
heathen manners and practices into the sanctuary under 
a new name. The very combination of the cross, with 
the military ensign by Constantine, was a most doubtful 
omen, portending an unhappy mixture of the temporal 
and spiritual powers, the kingdom which is of the earth 
and that which is from heaven. The settlement of the 
boundary between the two powers which, with all their 
unity, remain as essentially distinct as body and soul, 
law and gospel, was itself a prolific source of error and 
vehement strifes about jurisdiction, which stretched 
through all the middle age, and still repeat themselves 

After the Fall of the Roman Empire. 53 

in these latest times, save where the amicable American 
separation has thus far forestalled collision. 

Philip Schaff, "Church History/' vol. iii, pp. 91 
and 93. 

It is difficult for those who are not familiar 
with the relations which existed between Chris- 
tianity and the civil government of the Roman 
Empire to understand how entirely they were in- 
woven one with the other, and how each modified 
the other. Protestants have been so busy in de- 
fending the position assumed by the reformers of 
the sixteenth century, that the majority of them 
have not looked carefully into the influences 
which produced the evils that compelled the work 
of reformation. Under Constantine, Christianity 
was taken in charge as a recognized religion to be 
protected and fostered by the empire. It was 
not made the official religion of the empire until 
nearly the close of the fourth century — 380 A. D. — 
under Theodosius. Meanwhile, the civil law had 
assumed absolute control over all the depart- 
ments of the Christian Church. The emperor, as 
pontifex fnaximiiSy not only^ retained his position 
as having plenary power to appoint festivals, cere- 
monies, etc., but at and after the Council of Nice, 
325 A. D., the civil law determined what should be 
recognized as Christianity. Before the close of 
the fourth century seventeen edicts had been is- 
sued against heretics and against pagans in Asia 
Minor alone. Following this policy, the empire 
made every effort, using both bribery and fear 

54 Sunday Legislation. 

from time to time to induce men to profess alle- 
giance to Christianity. 

Touching this point, C. J. Stille, writing in the 
" Schaff-Herzog Encyclopaedia," vol. iii, p. 2070^ 
says : 

No one can read the account of the proceedings of 
the Council of Nicaea (325), which formulated the 
creed which from that period to this has been regarded 
as the basis of the faith of the universal Church, without 
being convinced that the emperor was regarded as 
something more than the honorary president of that 
body, that he considered himself at least as pontifex 
maximus in the new religion, as his predecessors had 
been in the old ; and thus at the very outset was forced 
upon the infant Church that unholy alliance with the 
state which, among other things, has helped to make 
Christianity so conspicuous an element in all subsequent 
history. The modern conception of the union of Church 
and State had its origin under Constantine. His succes- 
sors, Theodosius and Gratian, define or ratify the defi- 
nition of doctrines and condemn heretics. Justinian 
evidently thought himself pope and emperor combined ; 
and Charlemagne, in his " Capitularies,'* is at once the 
legislator of the Church and of the State. 

The Christian Church received from Constantine an- 
other distinguishing mark, which it retained for nearly 
fifteen hundred years — namely, the principle and the 
practice of punishing heretics by civil penalties. It is 
an humiliating confession to make that heresy — which is 
defined to be a persistent advocacy of opinions which 
have been condemned by the Church — is an offense 
which has never been punished as a crime by the civil 

After the Fall of the Roman Empire. 55 

magistrate under any ecclesiastical system save the 
Christian. But Constantine provided by an edict that 
the Donatist heretics should be so punished in 316, and 
his example was followed by Theodosius and others, so 
that before the close of the fourth century no less than 
seventeen edicts had been promulgated directing the 
magistrates to punish Christian dissenters. By these 
edicts they were deprived of their property and made 
incapable of holding office, and they were liable to be 
scourged and banished. The first blood judicially shed 
for religious opinion is said to have been that of certain 
Manichaeans in 385 ; but it is alleged that their condem- 
nation was extorted from an usurping emperor, and that 
the infliction of death as a punishment was highly dis- 
approved by such saints as Martin of Tours and Ambrose 
of Milan. 

During the fourth century the pretensions of the 
Christian hierarchy to power were greatly increased, 
and the primitive simplicity of the conduct of Christians 
no longer existed. The Church had vast possessions ; its 
clergy formed the larger portion of the educated classes, 
and held conspicuous positions at the imperial court. 
Christian beneficence was not only recognized as a duty, 
but it became the fashion, or rather a passion, among 
people of rank and wealth, to lavish gifts on the Church ; 
the magistrates in the town worked generally harmoni- 
ously with the bishop in the administration, the bishop, 
indeed, becoming the most conspicuous officer in the 
municipia. In short, society during the fourth century, 
both in the East and the West, became Christianized. 
A revolution had begun, which not only destroyed the 
outward forms of paganism, but which gradually worked 
out its spirit from the minds of the people. Nowhere 

56 Sunday Legislation. 

can we find a better illustration of the recognized power 
of the clergy than where Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, 
has the courage to forbid the Emperor Theodosius 
(a. d. 390) even to enter the church, much less to re- 
ceive therein the sacraments, until he had undergone 
penance for the crime of the massacre at Thessalonica, 
of which he had been guilty. 

The policy thus inaugurated at the opening 
of the fourth century was steadily pursued until 
under Justinian, who reigned from 527 to 565 
A. D., it culminated in such a combination that the 
unholy alliance, after the model of the pagan cul- 
tus, thoroughly prepared the way for the coming 
of the dark ages. The empire had been divided 
into Eastern and Western, over questions of doc- 
trine, which division Justinian healed, or rather 
covered, by imperial authority. He then sought 
to become the world's legislator by codifying all 
Roman laws which had been enacted during the 
preceding thousand years. Concerning this codi- 
fication and its effect upon the Church, Milman 

In the following chapters (of the Justinian Code) 
the appointment, the organization, the subordination, 
the authority of the ecclesiastical, as of the civil magis- 
trates of the realm, is assumed to emanate from, to be 
granted, limited, prescribed by the supreme emperor. 
Excommunication is uttered indeed by the ecclesiastics, 
but according to the imperial laws and with the imperial 
warrant. He deigns, indeed, to allow the canons of the 
Church to be of not less equal authority than his laws ; 

After the Fall of the Roman Empire. 57 

but his laws are divine, and these divine laws all metro- 
politans, bishops, and clergy are bound to obey, and, if 
commanded, to publish. The hierarchy is regulated by 
his ordinance. He enacts the superiority of the metro- 
politan over the bishop, of the bishop over the abbot, of 
the abbot over the monk. Distinct imperial laws rule the 
monasteries. The law prescribes the ordination of bish- 
ops, the persons qualified for ordination, the whole form 
and process of that holy ceremony. The law admitted 
no immunities in the clergy for crimes committed against 
the state and against society. It took upon itself the 
severe superintendence of clerical morals. The pas- 
sion for theatrical amusements, for the wild excitement 
of the horse-race, and the combat with wild beasts, or 
even more licentious entertainments, had carried away 
many of the clergy, even of the bishops. A law, more 
than once re-enacted and modified, while it acknowl- 
edged the power of the clergy's prayers to obtain victory 
over the barbarians and to obtain from heaven extended 
empire, declared that for this reason they should be 
unimpeachable. But, notwithstanding the most solemn 
admonition, they could not be persuaded, not even the 
bishops, to abstain from the gaming-table, or the theatre 
with all its blasphemies and license. The emperor was 
compelled to pass this law, prohibiting, under pain of 
suspension for the first offense, of irrevocable degrada- 
tion and servitude to the public corporations, any one of 
the clergy, of any rank, from being present at the gam- 
ing-table or at any public spectacle. These penalties, 
with other religious punishments, as fastings, were to be 
inflicted, according to the rank of the offender, by the 
bishop or the metropolitan. The refusal to punish, or 
the endeavor to conceal, such offenses made both the 

58 Sunday Legislation. 

civil officers and ecclesiastics liable to civil as well as 
to ecclesiastical penalties. 

The bishop was an imperial officer for certain tem- 
poral affairs. In each city he was appointed, with 
three of the chief citizens, annually to inspect the pub- 
lic accounts, and all possessions or bequests made for 
public works, markets, aqueducts, baths, walls and gates, 
and bridges. Before him guardians of lunatics swore on 
the Gospels to administer their trust with fidelity, and 
many legal acts might be performed either in the pres- 
ence of the Defensor or the bishop of the city. For the 
discharge of these temporal functions, the bishops were 
reasonably answerable to the emperor, and thus the em- 
pire acknowledged, at the inspiration of Christianity, a 
new order of magistracy. 

The law limited the number of clergy to be attached 
to each church. This constitution was demanded in 
order to check that multiplication of the clergy which 
exhausted the revenues of the Church, and led to bur- 
densome debts. In the great church at Constantinople 
the numbers were to be reduced to 425, besides 100 
ostiarii. The smaller churches were on no account to 
have more than they could maintain. . . . 

But the legislation of Justinian, as far as it was origi- 
nal, in his Code, his Pandects, and in his Institutions 
within its civil domain, was still almost exclusively Ro- 
man. It might seem that Christianity could hardly 
penetrate into the solid and well-compacted body of Ro- 
man law ; or rather, the immutable principles of justice 
had been so clearly discerned by the inflexible rectitude 
of the Roman mind, so sagaciously applied by the wis- 
dom of her great lawyers, that Christianity was content 
to acquiesce in those statutes, which even she might, 

After the Fall of the Roman Empire. 59 

excepting in some respects, despair of rendering more 
equitable. Christianity in the Roman Empire had en- 
tered into a temporal polity, with all its institutions long 
settled, its laws already framed. The Christians had, in 
their primitive state, no natural place in the order of 
things. That separate authority which the Church exer- 
cised over the members of its own community from its 
origin, and without which the loosest form of society can 
not subsist, was in no way recognized by the civil power ; 
they were the voluntary laws of a voluntary association. 
But, besides these special laws of their own, the Chris- 
tians were in every respect subjects of the empire. They 
were strangers in religion alone. After the comprehen- 
sive decree of Caracalla, they, like the rest of mankind 
within the pale of the empire, became Roman citizens ; 
and the supremacy of the state in all things which did 
not concern the vital principles of their religion (for 
which they were still bound, if the civil power should 
exercise compulsion, to suffer martyrdom) was acknowl- 
edged both in the West and in the East, both before and 
after the conversion of Constantine. 

Milman, ** History of Latin Christianity,'* book 
iii, chap. v. 

The various influences which united to bring 
about the fall of the Roman Empire made it pos- 
sible for the Church, already incorporated with the 
state through civil legislation, to rise to imperial 
power upon the ruins of the broken empire. The 
Pope soon became what the emperor had been. 
The Church had been much strengthened, politi- 
cally, by the exemption from most public burdens 
which had been granted to the clergy. This ex- 

6o Sunday Legislation. 

emption was not, however, made as a favor to 
Christianity, but was granted to the representa- 
tives of Christianity, as it had already been grant- 
ed to heathen priests, to Jewish rulers of the syna- 
gogue, to rhetoricians, and in part, at least, to 
physicians. It was first granted to the orthodox 
clergy by Constantine in 313 A. D. These politi- 
cal favors caused such a rush into the ranks of the 
clergy that the interests of the state were injured 
while the Church was corrupted. The freedom 
from taxation thus granted depleted the treasury 
of the empire, so that in a very brief period (320 
A. D.) it was found necessary to forbid the wealthy 
to enter the service of the Church. The support 
of the clergy from the treasury of the state in- 
creased the prevailing evils, and steadily degraded 
those who ministered at the altars of Christianity. 
So it came about that when the empire fell the 
state-church rose upon its ruins, and the '' Holy 
Roman Empire" was the legitimate successor of 
the fallen pagan empire. Let the reader bear in 
mind that the point urged in these pages is that 
all this union of Church and State, this regulating 
of the ceremonies and doctrines of Christianity by 
civil law, this granting of political and financial 
favors and influence to the clergy, this combining 
of the spiritual and temporal power, sprang from 
the heathen cultus. Whatever may have been the 
necessities or the unavoidable results from the com- 
binations which took place, these results, especial- 
ly in the matter of legislation, were from pagan 

After the Fall of the Roman Empire. 6i 

sources. With these facts before us, we are well 
prepared to understand the character of the legis- 
lation which was continued through the middle 
age, especially if we note, before entering upon 
this specific legislation, the character of the mid- 
dle age in general. 

The Middle Age. 

The middle age was necessarily one of igno- 
rance and disorder. During the earlier period 
Christianity had been in conflict with cultivated 
heathenism, with refined philosophies, and subtle 
immorality. In the middle age the battle was 
with rude and ignorant barbarism, crude, cruel, 
but robust, and free from the weaknesses of an effete 
civilization. We do not complain because history 
is not other than it is. Considering the choice 
which men made, it could not have been other- 
wise. But we do insist that neither the Roman- 
ized period under the empire, nor the following 
night, was in accord with true Christianity, nor 
was it the product of the New Testament doc- 
trine. It is our duty to test all questions by the 
Bible, the clear light, and not by the waning 
light of the imperial time, nor the starlight of the 
succeeding night. Dr. Schaff says : 

The mediaeval light was indeed the borrowed star 
and moonlight of ecclesiastical tradition, rather than the 
clear sunlight from the inspired pages of the New Testa- 
ment ; but it was such light as the eyes of nations in 

62 Sunday Legislation. 

their ignorance could bear, and it never ceased to shine 
till it disappeared in the daylight of the great Reforma- 
tion. Christ had his witnesses in all ages and countries, 
and those shine all the brighter who were surrounded 
by midnight darkness. 

" Pause where we may upon the desert road, 
Some shelter is in sight, some sacred, safe abode." 

On the other hand, the middle ages are often called, 
especially by Roman Catholic writers, ^* the ages of 
faith.*' They abound in legends of saints, which had 
the charm of religious novels. All men believed in the 
supernatural and miraculous as readily as children do 
now. Heaven and hell were as real to the mind as the 
kingdom of France and the republic of Venice. Skepti- 
cism and infidelity were almost unknown, or at least 
suppressed and concealed. But with faith was con- 
nected a vast deal of superstition, and an entire absence 
of critical investigation and judgment. Faith was blind 
and unreasoning, like the faith of children. The most 
incredible and absurd legends were accepted without a 
question. And yet the morality was not a whit better, 
but in many respects ruder, coarser, and more passion- 
ate than in modern times. 

The Church, as a visible organization, never had 
greater power over the minds of men. She controlled 
all departments of life from the cradle to the grave. She 
monopolized all the learning, and made sciences and 
arts tributary to her. She took the lead in every pro- 
gressive movement. She founded universities, built 
lofty cathedrals, stirred up the crusades, made and un- 
made kings, dispensed blessings and curses to whole 
nations. The mediaeval hierarchy centering in Rome 

After the Fall of the Roman Empire. 63 

re-enacted the Jewish theocracy on a more comprehen- 
sive scale. It was a carnal anticipation of the millennial 
reign of Christ. It took centuries to rear up this im- 
posing structure and centuries to take it down again. 

" Church History/' vol. iv, pp. 12, 13. 

As we begin our search for the Sunday 
through this deepening darkness, wherein the in- 
vestigator must grope his way, we find it still as- 
sociated with a large group of other holidays, 
which are held in equal sacredness with it. If 
Sunday seems to be more prominent than these, 
it is because of its weekly recurrence, while many 
others were but annual. Remember, too, that 
the hierarchy of that time assumed to legislate for 
the people, as God had done for the Israelites ; 
and hence, by the law of analogy, an extreme 
Judaic strictness was sometimes developed con- 
cerning the Sunday and its associate holy days. 
We shall give the important enactments through- 
out this period, paying particular attention to the 
Anglo-Saxon laws, out of which grew the Eng- 
lish, and hence our own Sunday laws. 

In the development of the Church-and-State 
idea, during the Roman period, the clergy had 
been intrusted with much power in hearing and 
deciding business matters between such as did not 
wish to go to law before heathen judges. Hence 
arose the practice of hearing such causes on Sun- 
day The Council of Tarragon, in 516A.D., or- 
dered as follows : 

64 Sunday Legislation. 

Let not any bishop or presbyter or any of the inferior 
clergy hear causes on the Lord's day, etc., . . . but let 
them be occupied in the performance of the solemnities 
ordained in honor of God. 

" Council of Tarragon," chap, iv, can. xv ; Binius, 
tome X, p. 625. 

In 538 A. D., the Third Council of Orleans en- 
acted the following : 

Whereas the people are persuaded that they ought 
not to travel on the Lord's day with the horses, or oxen and 
carriages, or to prepare anything for food, or to do any- 
thing conducive to the cleanliness of houses or men, things 
which belong to Jewish rather than Christian observ- 
ances ; we have ordained that on the Lord's day what 
was before lawful to be done may still be done. But 
from rural work, i. e., plowing, cultivating vines, reaping, 
mowing, thrashing, clearing away thorns or hedging, we 
judge it better to abstain, that the people may the more 
readily come to the churches and have leisure for 
prayers. If any one be found doing the works forbid- 
den above, let him be punished, not as the civil authori- 
ties may direct, but as the ecclesiastical powers may de- 

"Council of Orleans III," can. xxviii ; Binius, 
tome xi, p. 496; or Labbe, ix, p. 19. 

In 578 A. D. the Council of Auxerre ordered 
as follows : 

On the Lord's day it is not permitted to yoke oxen 
or to perform any other work except for appointed 

" Council of Auxerre," can. xvi ; Binius, tome xiii, 
p. 44. 

After the Fall of the Roman Empire. 65 

About the same time Pope Gregory I made a 
similar law at Rome. At a later date — about 850 
A. D. — it was repealed by Nicholas L In 585 
A. D. the Second Council of Macon, following the 
lead of that of Auxerre, enacted as follows. 
After a prelude, in which it is stated that Chris- 
tian people treat the Sunday with great con- 
tempt, as if it were like other days, and because 
former warnings remained unheeded, it is or- 
dered : 

Keep the Lord's day whereon ye were born anew 
and freed from all sin. Let no one spend his leisure in 
litigation ; let no one continue the pleading of any 
cause. Let no one under plea of necessity allow him- 
self to place a yoke on the neck of his cattle. Let all 
be occupied in mind and body in hymns, and in the 
praise of God. If any one dwells near a church, let 
him go thereto, and upon the Lord's day engage with 
prayers and tears. Let your eyes and hands on that day 
be lifted up to God. For this is the day of perpetual rest. 
This is shadowed to us in the seventh day in the law 
and the prophets. It is right, therefore, that we should 
all celebrate this day, through which we are made to be 
what we were not; for we were in sin, but through this 
we were made righteous. Let us then yield a willing 
service to the Lord, through whom we know ourselves 
to have been freed from the bonds of error. Not be- 
cause our Lord requires it of us that we should cele- 
brate this day by constraint of the body, but he seeks 
obedience, by which, trampling on earthly things, we 
may be lifted to heaven through his mercy. If any 

66 Sunday Legislation. 

one shall disregard this wholesome exhortation, or treat 
it contemptuously, he shall, in the first place, draw upon 
himself the wrath of God ; and secondly, the unappeasa- 
ble anger of the clergy. If he be an advocate, let him 
wholly lose the privilege of pleading the cause ; if a 
countryman or a slave, let him be soundly beaten with 
whips ; if a clerk or a monk, let him be suspended from 
the society of his brethren for the space of six months. 
For all these things may we be rendered pleasing unto 

*' Council Macon II," can. ii; Labbe, ix, p. 947 ; 

also Binius, tome xiii, pp. 75, 76. 

By the next canon of this council the entire 
paschal season is treated as being equally holy, 
and ordered to be held in equal reverence. In 
813 A. D., under Charlemagne, the Council of 
Mayence enacted the folio w^ing : 

We decree that all Lord's days shall be observed 
with all due veneration, and that all servile work shall 
be abstained from, and that buying and selling may be 
less likely to happen, there shall be no judicial trials, 
unless concerning capital crimes. 

** Council Mayence,*' can. xxxvii ; Binius, tome 
XX, p. 357. Also, " Capitularies," lib, v, cap. 88. 

In the same year a council at Rheims expressed 
the same idea as follows : 

Upon all Lord's days, according to the precept ot 
the Lord, no servile work whatever ought to be per- 
formed ; neither should any court be convened, nor 

After the Fall of the Roman Empire. 67 

should it be presumed to make any public largess, nor 
any mercantile transactions. 

"Council of Rheims/' can. xxxv; Binius, tome 
XX, p. 368. 

In 853 A. D. the Second Council of Soissons, 
under Charles the Bold, extended the law to many 
other days. 

From Septuagesima till eight days after 
Easter, and from the coming of our Lord until 
eight days after Epiphany, during the fasts of the 
four seasons, on the day of the great litanies, and 
on rogation days, the trial of causes was for- 

In 858 A. D. Pope Nicholas I gave certain in- 
struction to the Burgundians, who had but lately 
embraced Christianity. He taught them that 
there were no days on which works of necessity, 
such as journeying, fighting, etc., might not be 
performed. He urges that '' our hopes do not 
rest upon the observance of days, but upon the 
true and living end." But if necessity does not 
prevent, the leisure of these days ought to be spent 
in prayer, " and in attending on the mysteries of 
these great festivals.'* His orders involved not 
only Sunday, but the *' feasts of the Virgin, the 
feasts of the Apostles and Evangelists, the birth- 
days of other saints, and the season of Lent.*' 
(Binius, tome xxii, pp. 453, 454, 459; also Labbe, 
tome ix, p. 1091.) 

The emperors of this period sent out officers 

68 Sunday Legislation. 

from time to time, as fancy or occasion demanded, 
to enforce laws and reform abuses. These officers 
were called ^'' inissi dominici^'' and their instruc- 
tions were called ''capitularies." Among the 
penalties prescribed in these were the following : 
*' If one yoke oxen to a cart and drive them, walk- 
ing beside it, he is to be punished by the loss of 
the right ox." Performing servile work in gen- 
eral, subjected one to such punishment as the 
clergy saw fit to impose, and the civil power 
might be called upon to aid in enforcing these 
penalties. (See Neale, '' Feasts and Fasts," pp. 98, 
99, and Labbe, xv, 16.) 

In 895 A. D., during the reign of the Emperor 
Arnulph, the Council of Triburary forbade the 
holding of courts on Sunday, Saints' days, Lent, 
and other festivals. (See '' Council of Triburary," 
can. XXXV ; Binius, tome xxi, p. 661.) 

In 932, under Henry I, a council at Erfurt, in 
Saxony, designated the seasons named above by 
the Council of Triburary, and added to them the 
following, as non-judicial days : '' Seven days be- 
fore Christmas, eight days before Easter, and seven 
days before the nativity of John the Baptist, and 
the whole season of Lent, that more time might 
be allowed for prayers, and for attending the 
churches." (See '' Council at Erfurt," can. ii; Bin- 
ius, tome XXV, p. 37.) ^ 

The entire system of holy days, during the 
middle ages, rested on a common basis, and their 
observance was enforced by a common authority, 

After the Fall of the Roman Empire. 69 

viz., the commands of the Church. There was / 
great lack of uniformity, both in the character of 
these requirements and in their enforcement. 
Rulers, councils, and localities varied from each 
other and often contradicted each other. The 
whole scene is one of ignorance, superstition, low 
moral and spiritual life, darkness, and chaos. 



It is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to ob- 
tain accurate dates in the earlier periods of his- 
tory. It is equally difficult to secure uniformity 
in the spelling of proper names, and names of 
localities during the formative period of a lan- 
guage. Both of these difficulties environ the in- 
vestigator of early Saxon history. We have con- 
sulted only the standard authorities in the prepa- 
ration of the following, deciding dates and spell- 
ing according to the weight of evidence, or of 

All Sunday legislation is the product of pagan 
Rome. The Saxon laws were the product of the 
middle-age legislation of the '' Holy Roman Em- 
i pire.'' The English laws are an expansion of the 
Saxon, and the American are a transcript of the 
English. Our own laws were all inchoate in 
those which are found below. Besides the author- 
ities cited in full below, the reader is referred 
to ** Ancient Laws and Institutes of England/* 

Saxon Laws Concerning Sunday. 71 

edited by Benjamin Thorpe, and printed by 
command of William III, in 1840. 

Ine became King of Wessex, 688 A. D., and 
reigned until 725. Law 3 of his is as follows : 

If a theowman (slave) work on Sunday by his lord's 
command, let him be free ; and let the lord pay thirty shil- 
lings as a fine. But if the theow work without his knowl- 
edge, let him suffer in his hide, or in hide-gild (money 
paid in lieu of corporal punishment). But if a freeman 
work on that day without his lord's command, let him 
forfeit his freedom, or sixty shillings; and be a priest 
doubly liable. (Thorpe, p. 69.) 

The following laws of Withread, King of Kent- 
ishmen from 690 to 725 A. D., w^ere passed about 
696 A. D. : 

Law 9. If a slave (esne) do any servile labor, con- 
trary to his lord's command, from sunset on Sunday eve 
till sunset on Monday eve, let him make a compensation 
(bot) of eighty shillings to his lord. 

Law 10. If an esne so do of his own accord on that 
day, let him make a " bot " of six to his lord, or his hide. 

Law II. But if a freeman [so do] at the forbidden 
time, let him be liable to his heals-fang (a fine paid to 
save himself from the pillory), and the man who detects 
him, let him have half the fine (wite) and the work. 
(Thorpe, p. 17.) 

Among the laws of the eighth century, is' one 
found in the '' Canons of Cuthbert,'* enacted at 
Clovis Hoo, November, 747 A. D., in the reign of 

']2 Sunday Legislation. 

Eidelbald, King of the Mercians. It runs as fol- 
lows : 

In the fourteenth place it is ordained that the Lord's 
day be celebrated by all, with due veneration and wholly 
separated for divine service. And let all abbots and 
priests, on that most sacred day, remain in their monas- 
teries and churches, and say solemn mass ; and lay aside 
all external business, and secular meetings, and journey- 
ings, except the cause be invincible ; let them by preach- 
ing instruct the servants subject to them, from the oracle 
of the holy Scriptures, the rules of religious conversation, 
and of good living. It is also decreed that on that day, 
and the great festivals, the priests of God do often invite 
the people to meet in the church, and be present at the 
sacraments of masses and at preaching of sermons. 

" Laws and Canons of the Church of England, 
from its foundation to Henry VIII,'' by John 
Johnson, M. A., Vicar of Cranbroke, etc., 
Oxford, 1850. Vol. i, p. 249. 

Alfred held the throne of Wessex from 871 to 
901 A. D. The 5th law of his code declares in 
'these words : 

He who steals on Sunday, or at Yule, or at Easter, 

or on Holy Thursday, or on Rogation days, the fine shall 

be double what it is in the Lenten fast. (Thorpe, p. 29.) 

Laws of Edward the Elder, and Guthrum, made 

after the peace between the Danes and the 

English, 901 to 924 a. d. 

Law 7. If any one engage in Sunday marketing, let 

him forfeit the chattel, and twelve ores (192 pence), 

among the Danes, and thirty shillings among the Eng- 

Saxon Laws Concerning Sunday. 73 

Hsh. If a freeman work on a festival day, let him forfeit 
his freedom, or pay a fine (wite or lah-slit). Let a theow- 
man suffer in his hide, or hide-gild. If a lord oblige his 
theow to work on a festival day, let him pay lah-slit 
within the Danish law, and wite among the English. 
(Thorpe, p. 73.) 

Wite and lah-slit are equivalent to " fine.'* 
This law is headed, ** Of working on a festival 
day." Sunday only is designated, but the law 
seems to include other festivals. The date is un- 
certain, and may be earlier than as above, possibly 
as early as 878 A. D. 

The laws enacted by the Council of Greatanlea, 
under ^thelstane about 924 A. D., include the 
following : 

Law 24. And that no marketing be on Sundays ; but 
if any one do so, let him forfeit the goods, and pay thirty 
shillings as wite. (Thorpe, p. 90. ) 

In the year 943 A. D., Odo, Archbishop of Can- 
terbury, issued the following appeal : 

Canon 9. We admonish that fasting with alms be very 
carefully observed ; for these are the three wings which 
carry saints to heaven ; wherefore endeavor to keep the 
fast of Lent, of the Four Seasons, and other lawful 
fasts as of the fourth and sixth days of the week, with 
great vigilance ; and above all, the Lord's day and the 
Festivals of Saints, ye are to take care that ye observe 
with all caution from all secular work. Consent to no 
vain superstitions ; nor worship the creature more than 

74 Sunday Legislation. 

the Creator, with magical illusions ; for they who do such 
things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 

^^Laws and Canons of the Church of England, 
from its foundation to Henry VIII/' by John 
Johnson, M. A., Vicar of Cranbroke, etc. 
Oxford, 1850. Vol. i, p. 362. 

King Edgar reigned from 959 to 975 A. D. 
Among the ecclesiastical laws of his reign, number 
5 is as follows : 

And let the festivals of every Sunday be kept from 
the noon-tide of Saturday till the dawn of Monday, on 
peril of the wite which the doom-book specifies; and 
every other mass-day, as it may be commanded ; and let 
every ordained fast be kept with every earnestness ; and 
every Friday's fast, unless it be a festival ; and let soul 
scot (a tax) be paid for every Christian man to the 
minister to which it is due ; and let every church-grith 
(privilege) stand as it has best stood. (Thorpe, p. 112.) 

Among the *' Canons of Edgar," we find the 
following : 

18. And we enjoin, that on feast days, heathen songs 
and devil's games be abstained from. 

19. And we enjoin that Sunday trading and folk- 
motes be abstained from. (Thorpe, p. 397.) 

Certain laws are attributed to ^Ifric, the " Un- 
known Archbishop,'* whose date is also unknown, 
but is placed from 957 to 105 1 A. D. Among these 
*' Canons," number 36 is as follows: 

We command you, mass priests, that ye command all 
the people who look to you, and over whom ye are con- 

Saxon Laws Concerning Sunday. 75 

fessors, that the four first Easter-days be freed from all 
servile work ; because at that tide all the world was 
freed from the thraldom of the devil. And let Sunday's 
festival be held from the noon of Saturday until the 
dawn of Monday. (Thorpe, p. 450.) 

Among the Ecclesiastical Institutes of ^Ifric, 
we find the following : 

24. Sunday is very solemnly to be reverenced, there- 
fore we command that no man dare on that holy day to 
apply to any worldly work, unless for the preparing of 
his meat ; except it happen to any one that he must of 
necessity journey ; then he may either ride, or row, or 
journey by such conveyance as may be suitable to his 
way, on the condition that he hear his mass, and neglect 
not his prayers. On Sunday God first created the light, 
and on that day he sent to the people of Israel, in the 
desert, heavenly bread ; and on that day he rose from 
death, when he before, with his own will, had suffered 
death for the salvation of mankind ; and on that day he 
sent the Holy Ghost into his disciples. It is therefore 
very highly fitting that every Christian man very rever- 
ently honor that day. And it is fitting that every Chris- 
tian man who can accomplish it, come to church on 
Saturday and bring light with him, and there hear even- 
song, and before dawn, matins, and in the morning come 
with their offerings to the celebration of the mass. And 
when they come thither, let there be no iniquity, nor 
any strifes, nor any discord heard, but with calm mind 
at the holy service, let them intercede both for them- 
selves, and for all God's people, both with their prayers, 
and with their alms ; and after the holy service, let each 
return home, and with his friends and his neighbors, and 

76 Sunday Legislation. 

with strangers, enjoy ghostly refection, and guard him- 
self against gluttony and drunkenness. (Thorpe, p. 478.) 

These Institutes cover many days besides 
Sunday. Speaking of the Quadragesima period, 
the forty-first one enacts : 

Every Sunday, at this holy tide, people should go to 
housel, except those men who are excommunicated. So 
also on Thursday before Easter, and on the Friday, and 
on Easter eve, and on Easter day, and all the days of 
Easter week are with like piety to be celebrated, 
(Thorpe, p. 487.) 

Law 13 of the group known as Liber Constitu- 
tiorum, enacted under Ethelread (978 to 1016 A. D.), 
reads : 

Let Sunday's festival be rightly kept, as is thereto 
becoming ; and let marketings, and folk-motes be care- 
fully abstained from on that holy day. (Thorpe, p. 131.) 

Law 22 of the Council of Enham, under the 
same king, is in these words : 

And let festivals and fasts be rightly kept. Let Sun- 
day's festival be rightly kept, as is thereto becoming ; 
and let marketings, and folk-motes, and huntings, and 
worldly works, be strictly abstained from on that holy 
day. And let all St. Mary's solemn feast tides be 
strictly honored, first with fasting, and afterwards with 
festival ; and at the celebration of every apostle let 
strict fast be held, except that on the festival of St. 
Philip and St. James we enjoin no fast on account of 
the Easter festival, unless any one will ; else let other 

Saxon Laws Concerning Sunday. yj 

festivals and fasts be strictly observed, so as those ob- 
served them who best observed them. 

Law 24. And let fasts be kept every Friday, unless it 
be a festival. 

Law 43. And that they lawfully render God*s dues 
every year, and rightly hold festivals and fasts. 

Law 44. And that they strictly abstain from Sunday 
marketings and popular meetings. (Thorpe , pp. 126, 
127, 139. 

In another group of laws under this sovereign, 
a fine is ordered if the foregoing laws are broken. 

In a group of laws attributed to the priests of 
Northumbria, of unknown date, but probably be- 
longing to the last half of the tenth centur}^, the 
55th reads as follows : 

Sunday traffic we forbid everywhere, and every folk- 
mote, and every work, and every journey, whether in a 
wain, or on a horse, or as a burthen. (Thorpe, p. 420.) 

Canute, King of Denmark, became king of all 
England in 1017 A. D. He died in 1035. His laws 
are divided into ecclesiastical and secular. Among 
the former, law 14 is as follows : 

And let all God's dues be diligently furthered, as is 
needful, and let festivals and fasts be rightly held ; and 
let every Sunday's festival be held from the noon of Sat- 
urday till the dawn of Monday, and every other mass- 
day as it is commanded. 

Law 15. And Sunday marketing we also strictly for- 
bid, and every folk-mote, unless it be for great necessity ; 
and let huntings and all other worldly works be strictly 
abstained from on that holy day. 

78 Sunday Legislation. 

Law 17. And we forbid ordeals and oaths (lawsuits 
and court trials) on festival days and ember-days, and 
from adventum domini until the eighth day be passed 
after the twelfth mass day ; and from Septuagesima till 
fifteen days after Easter. And St. Edward's mass-day 
the Witan Council have chosen that it shall be celebrated 
over all England on the fifteenth Kal. April. And St. 
Dunstan*s mass-day on the fourteenth Kal. Juriii. And 
at those holy tides, let there be as it is right, to all Chris- 
tian men, general peace and concord, and let every dis- 
pute be settled. And if any one owe another, " borh *' 
or " bot " for secular matters, let him willingly fulfill it 
to him, before or after. (Thorpe, p. 157, 158.) 

The observance of the fasts v^as enjoined with 
no less vigor than the observance of Sunday. We 
find the following among the '' secular " laws of 
Canute : 

Law 47. If a freeman break a lawful fast, let him pay 
lah-slit among the Danes, and wite among the English, 
as the deed may be. It is sinful that any one, at a law- 
ful fast-tide, eat before the time, and yet worse that any 
one defile himself with flesh meat. If a theowman do 
'so, let him pay with his hide, or hide-gild, as the deed 
may be. 

Secular law 45 is as follows : 

If it can be helped, no condemned man should be 
put to death on a Sunday festival, unless he flee or fight ; 
but let him be secured and held till the festival day be 
passed. If a freeman work on a festival day, then let 
him make " bot '* with his heals fang, and, above all, 
earnestly make '* bot *' to God, so as he may be in- 

Saxon Laws Concer^ting Sunday. 79 

structed. If a theowman work, let him pay with his 
hide, or hide-gild, according as the deed may be. If 
a lord compel his theow to work upon a festival day, let 
him forfeit the theow and be he afterward folk-free ; 
and let the lord pay lah-slit among the Danes, and wite 
among the English, as the deed may be, or clear him- 
self. (Thorpe, pp. 172, 173.) 

The Sunday Laws of Edward the Confessor, 
made about the year 1056 A. D., took certain days 
away from the legal vacations which had been 
ordered by Canute, but added others. The law of 
Edward is as follows: 

Let the protection of God and the Holy Church be 
throughout the whole kingdom from the Lord's Advent 
to the octaves of Epiphany, and from Septuagesima till 
the octaves of Easter, and from the Lord's Ascension 
till the octaves of Pentecost, and in all the days of Em- 
ber-weeks ; and every Sabbath from the ninth hour, and 
through the whole following day till Monday ; also on 
the vigils of Saints Mary, Michael, John Baptist, all the 
apostles and saints whose festivals are bid by priests on 
the Lord's days ; and All-Saints on the calends of No- 
vember, perpetually from the ninth hour of the vigils, 
and during the following festival ; also in parishes, where 
the dedication day, or the day of their proper saint is 
celebrated ; and if any one devoutly go to celebrate a 
saint, let him have protection in going, staying, and re- 
turning, and let all Christians have protection when they 
go to church to pray, both in going forth and returning. 
Let them have absolute protection who are going to 
dedication, to synods, to chapters, whether they are sum- 

8o Sunday Legislation. 

moned, or go of their own accord upon business. If 
any one being excommunicated betake himself to the 
bishop for absolution, let him enjoy the protection of 
God and Holy Church in going and returning. Let the 
bishop in his own court prosecute any man who has in- 
curred a forfeiture to him. Yet if any one out of arro- 
gance will not be brought to satisfaction in the bishop's 
court, let the bishop notify him to the king, and let the 
king constrain the malefactor to make satisfaction where 
the forfeiture is due, that is, first to the bishop, then to 
himself. So there shall be two swords, and one sword 
shall help the other. 

"Ancient Laws and Institutes of England,*' by 

Benjamin Thorpe, p. 190. Also, Spelman^ 

vol. i, p. 619. 



The early Sunday laws in England were but 
the expansion of the Saxon laws. When com- 
pared with the Saxon laws, they show the suc- 
cessive links by which our Sunday laws have 
been developed from the original source. They 
are of great value, beyond their mere historic in- 
terest, in showing how the advance of civilization 
and of Christianity has left the original idea be- 

In 1 28 1 A. D., John Peckham, Archbishop of 
Canterbury under Edward I, explained the Fourth 
Commandment to the priests as they were to 
teach it to the people. That explanation runs as 
follows : 

In the Third, " Remember that thou keep/* etc., the 
Christian worship is enjoined, to which laymen as well 
as clerks are bound ; and here we are to know that the 
obligation to observe the legal Sabbath, according to 
the form of the Old Testament, is at an end, together 
with the other ceremonies in that ; to which in the New 
Testament hath succeeded the custom of spending the 
Lord's day, and other solemn days appointed by the 

82 Sunday Legislation. 

authority of the Church, in the worship of God ; and 
the manner of spending these days is not to be taken 
from the superstition of the Jews, but from the canoni- 
cal institutes. 

** Laws and Canons of the Church of England, 
from its Foundation to Henry VIII," John- 
son, vol. ii, p. 284. 

A statute of the 28th of Edward III, enacted 
in 1354 A. D., reads as follows : 

Item, it is accorded and established, that showing of 
wools shall be made at the staple every day of the week, 
except the Sunday and solemn feasts of the year. 

'* The Statutes Relating to the Ecclesiastical and 
Eleemosynary Institutes of England," by 
Archibald John Stephens, vol. i, p. (^d. 

In 1359 A. D., Islep, Archbishop of Canterbury, 
under Edward III, in view of the state of the 
kingdom, issued the following : 

Whereas, the most excellent prince, our lord, the 
King of England, is now going to make an expedition 
in foreign parts with his army for the recovery of his 
right, exposing himself as a soldier to the doubtful 
events of war, the issue whereof is in the hand of God ; 
we who have hitherto lived under his protection are, by 
the divine favor shining on us, admonished to betake 
ourselves to prayer, as well for the safety of every one of 
us as for the public good, lest if adverse fortune should 
invade us (which God forbid), our confusion and re- 
proach should be the greater. But, though it is pro- 
vided by sanctions of law and canon that all Lord's days 

Sunday Laws in England. 83 

be venerably observed from eve to eve, so that neither 
markets, negotiations, or courts public or private, ec- 
clesiastical or secular, be kept, or any country work done 
on these days, that so every faithful man remembering 
his creation may then, at least, go to his parish church, 
ask pardon for his offenses, supply his omissions and 
commissions for the week, honor the divine mysteries, 
learn and keep the commandments of the Church there 
expounded, and earnestly pour out prayers to God in 
the churches that are consecrated from above for places 
of prayer, not only for themselves, but for every degree 
of men, whether of secular or ecclesiastical host, laying 
aside all worldly care ; yet we are clearly, to our heart's 
grief, informed that a detestable, nay, damnable per- 
verseness has prevailed, insomuch that in many places 
markets not only for victuals, but other negotiations 
(which can scarce be without frauds and deceits), un- 
lawful meetings of men who neglect their churches, vari- 
ous tumults, and other occasions of evil are committed, 
revels and drunkenness, and many other dishonest doings 
are practiced, from whence quarrels and scolds, threats 
and blows and sometimes murder proceeds on the Lord's 
days, in contempt of the honor of God ; insomuch that 
the main body of the people flock to these markets, by 
which the devil's power is increased ; and in the holy 
churches where the God of peace is to be sought and 
his anger more easily satisfied, the worship of God and 
the saints ceaseth by reason of the absence of the faith- 
ful people, the sacred mysteries are not had in due ven- 
eration, and the mutual support of men in praying is 
withdrawn, to the great decay of reverence toward God 
and the Church, the grievous peril of souls, and to the 
manifest scandal and contempt of Christianity ; where- 

84 Sunday Legislation. 

fore we strictly command you, our brother, that ye, with- 
out delay, canonically admonish and effectually per- 
suade, in virtue of obedience, or cause to be admonished 
and persuaded, those of your subjects whom ye find 
culpable in the premises, that they do wholly abstain 
from markets, courts, and other unlawful practices above 
described, on the Lord's days for the future ; and that 
such of them as are come to years of discretion, do go 
to their parish churches to do, hear, and receive what the 
duty of the day requires of them ; and that ye restrain 
all whatsoever that transgress and rebel in this respect, 
both in general and particular, with Church censures 
according to the canon. And do ye further enjoin your 
flock subject to you, and cause them to be enjoined, 
that on the said days, and at other times when they 
think fit, they do in their prayers at church most de- 
voutly recommend our lord, the king, the noblemen 
of the kingdom, and all others whatsoever that attend 
him in the said expedition, and their safety and pros- 
perity, to the Lord Most High, the King of all Kings ; 
and make two customary processions about their churches 
and church-yards every week for them, and for the 
peace of the kingdom. And we further command you 
that ye intimate this our mandate with all possible speed 
to our fellow-bishops and suffragans of the province of 
Canterbury, that they may do what is above contained 
in relation to their subjects. And that the minds of the 
faithful may the more easily be incited to the doing of 
the premises, confiding in the mercies of God, and in the 
merits and prayers of his most holy mother, the Virgin 
Mary, and of blessed Thomas, the glorious martyr, and 
of the other saints, we grant by these presents forty 
days' indulgence to all Christians throughout our prov- 

Sunday Laws in England. 85 

ince, who shall pray in the manner aforesaid, and ab- 
stain from the unlawful practices above expressed, so 
that they confess their sins and truly repent of them. 
And we do in the Lord exhort you and the rest of our 
fellow-bishops, that ye grant indulgences out of the 
treasure of the Church entrusted with you to them that 
do and observe what is above specified. And do ye 
before the feast of All-Saints next coming, certify us by 
your letters patent (containing a copy of these) of the 
day when ye received these presents, and the manner 
and form of your executing thereof; and do ye specially 
enjoin our said brethren, that they do every one in par- 
ticular take care to certify us of what they have done 
in like manner. 

Dated at Otteford, 19 caL of September, a. d. 1359, 
and of our consecration the tenth. 

^' Laws and Canons of the Church of England 
from its Foundation to Henry VIII," John- 
son, vol. ii, pp. 417-419. Also, "Sir Henry 
Spelman's Works," Latin, vol. ii, p. 599. 

The foregoing- appeal and command seem to 
have been of little avail. Three years later, 1362 
A. D., we find the following — Islep's '' Constitu- 
tions," No. 3 — which shows how thoroughly un- 
sabbatic the Sunday was, and how low the plane 
was on which it stood. Edward III was still 
on the throne of England and Urban V was in the 
papal chair : 

Simon, by divine permission. Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, primate of all England, legate of the Apostolic see, 

86 Sunday Legislation. 

to our venerable brother Simon, by the grace of God 
Bishop of London, health and brotherly charity in the 
Lord. We learn from the Holy Scripture that vice often 
appears under the color of virtue. At the first creation 
of man, God enjoined him to cease from labor on the 
seventh day only ; but the militant Church in the times 
of grace has added several other days ; and some of these 
again, by the toleration of the Church, were taken away 
for the convenience of men, and the necessity of their 
laboring ; and yet some local festivals were added to be 
observed by Catholics in some parts ; and though the 
custom of festivals was introduced in honor of the saints, 
yet by the levity of men, what was instituted out of a 
reverent regard to the elect of God, has been turned to 
their reproach, by reason that disorderly meetings and 
negotiations and other unlawful exercises are practiced 
on such days, and what was intended for devotion is 
corfverted to lewdness, forasmuch as the tavern on these 
days is more frequented than the church, and there is 
greater abundance of junkets and drunkenness than of 
tears and prayers ; and men spend their leisure in de- 
bauchery and quarrels more than in devotion ; not to 
omit that covenant servants (without whose labor the 
commonwealth can not subsist), under a lawful pretense, 
do abstain from work on holydays (though of their own 
making), and on the vigils of saints, and yet take no less 
on that account for their weekly wages, by which the 
public good is clogged and obstructed ; nor do they 
sabbatize in honor of God, but to the scandal of Him 
and Holy Church, as if these solemnities were intended 
for the exercise of profaneness and mischief, which in- 
crease in proportion to the number of these days. To 
prevent superstitions, evil intentions, and frauds of cove- 

Sunday Laws in England. 87 

nant servants, and to lessen the occasion of them, and 
that the memories of the saints which require a cessation 
from labor may be had in due veneration, according to the 
original institution of the Church, with the advice of our 
brethren, we have thought fit to set down in these pres- 
ents the feasts on which all people in our province of 
Canterbury must regularly abstain even from such works 
as are profitable to the commonwealth, reserving a 
power to ecclesiastical men and to other great persons, 
and such as are, in this respect, self-sufficient, of solemn- 
ly observing the days of whatever saints they please to 
honor God in their own churches and chapels. In the 
first place, the holy Lord's day, beginning at vespers on 
the Sabbath day, not before, lest we should seem pro- 
fessed Jews ; and let this be observed in feasts that have 
their vigils ; also the feasts of the Nativity of our Lord, 
Saints Stephen, John, Innocents, Thomas the Martyr, 
Circumcision, Epiphany of the Lord, Purification of the 
Blessed Virgin, Saint Matthias Apostle, Annunciation of 
the Blessed Virgin, Easter with the three following days. 
Saint Mark the Evangelist, the Apostles Philip and 
Jacob, Invention of the Holy Cross, Ascension of the 
Lord, Pentecost, with the three following days, Corpus 
Christi, Nativity of St. John Baptist, Apostles Peter and 
Paul, Translation of St. Thomas, St. Mary Magdalene, 
St. James Apostle, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, 
St. Laurence, St. Bartholomew, Nativity of St. Mary, 
Exaltation of the Holy Cross, St. Matthew, St. Michael, 
St. Luke Evangelist, Apostles Simon and Jude, All- 
Saints, St. Andrew, St. Nicholas, Conception of the 
Blessed Virgin, St. Thomas x\postle, the solemnity of the 
dedication of every parish church, and of the saints to 
whom every parish church is dedicated, and other feasts 

88 Sunday Legislation. 

enjoined in every diocese by the ordinaries of the places 
in particular, and of their certain knowledge. We 
therefore command you that ye notify all and singu- 
lar the premises, to all our brethren and suffragans, en- 
joining every one of them that they admonish and 
effectually persuade the clergy and people subject to 
them, strictly to observe and with honor to venerate the 
feasts above rehearsed as they fall in their seasons ; and 
let them reverently go to the parish churches on those 
days and stay out the conclusion of the masses and 
other divine offices, praying devoutly and sincerely to God 
for the salvation of themselves and the rest of the faithful, 
both quick and dead ; that by thus going the circle of the 
solemnities of the saints, they and other Catholics for 
whom they pray may deserve the constant intercession 
of the saints, whose feasts they celebrate, with Almighty 
God. And let our brethren intimate to their subjects 
that on the other feasts of the saints they may with im- 
punity proceed in their customary labors. And if they 
find any hired laborers who presume to cease from 
working on particular feasts that are not above enjoined, 
in order to defraud those to whose service they have 
bound themselves, let them canonically restrain them 
from such superstitions and cause others to restrain them 
by ecclesiastical censures. And we command our breth- 
ren aforesaid, that every one of them do clearly and 
distinctly certify us by their letters patent (containing 
a copy of these presents) what they have done in the 
premises, before the feast of the Nativity of St. Mary 
the Virgin, next coming ; and do ye also take care to 
effectually perform all and singular the premises, so far 
as they concern your cities and diocese, . and in the 
same manner to certify it to us. 

Sunday Laws in England. 89 

Dated at Maghfield, 17 cal. August, a. d. 1362, and 
of our consecration the thirteenth. 

'^Laws and Canons of the Church of England, 
from its Foundation to Henry VIII," John- 
son, vol. ii, pp. 425-428. Also, Spelman, 
''Works," p. 609; also, Wilkins, "Concilia,*' 
vol. ii, p. 560. 

About the year 1367, John Thorsby, Arch- 
bishop of York, gave a similar charge to his sub- 
ordinates. It runs as follows : 

Desiring, therefore, to obviate some errors and abuses 
so far as we can, which we see to grow rife in the Church : 
in the first place (according to the example of Christ, 
who would have his own church be called a house, not 
of merchandise, but of prayer ; and not allowing fraudu- 
lent traffic there to be exercised, cast the buyers and 
sellers out of the temple), we firmly forbid any one to 
keep a market in the churches, the porches, and ceme- 
teries thereunto belonging, or other holy places of our 
diocese, on the Lord's day or other festivals, or to pre- 
sume to traffic or hold any secular pleas therein ; and 
let there be no wrestlings, shootings, or plays which may 
be the cause or occasion of sin, dissension, hatred, or 
fighting, therein performed ; but let every Catholic come 
thither to pray, and to implore pardon for his sin. 

Johnson, as above, vol. ii, p. 431, and Wilkins, 
vol. iii, p. (>Z. 

A similar law had been enacted by Edward I 
(thirteenth ed., statute 2) in 1285 A. D., in which 
it was ordered, '' that from henceforth neither 

90 Sunday Legislation. 

fairs nor markets be kept in church-yards, for 
the honor of the Church." 

In 1409 A. D., Henry IV ordered the following: 

He that playeth at unlawful games on Sundays and 
other festival days prohibited by the statute, shall be six 
days imprisoned. (Statute 11.) 

The 27th statute of Henry VI, enacted in 1448 
A. D., is in these words : 

Item, considering the abominable iniquities and of- 
fenses done to Almighty God and to his saints, always 
aiders and singular assisters in our necessities, because 
of fairs and markets upon their high and principal 
feasts, as in the feast of the Ascension of our Lord, in 
the day of Corpus Christi, in the day of Whitsunday, in 
Trinity Sunday, with other Sundays, and also in the high 
feast of the Assumption of our Blessed Lady, the day of 
All Saints, and on Good Friday, accustomably and mis- 
erably holden and used in the realm of England : in 
which principal and festival days for great earthly covet- 
ise, the people is more willingly vexed, and in bodily 
labor foiled, than in other ferial days, as in fastening and 
making their booths and stalls, bearing and carrying, 
lifting and placing their wares outward and homeward, 
as though they did nothing remember the horrible defil- 
ing of their souls in buying and selling, with many de- 
ceitful lies and false perjury, with drunkenness and 
strifes, and so specially withdrawing themselves and 
their servants from divine service ; the aforesaid lord the 
king, by advice and assent of the lords spiritual and 
temporal and the commons of this realm of England, 
being in the said Parliament, and by authority of the 


Sunday Laws in England. 91 

same Parliament, hath ordained that all manner of fairs 
and markets in the said principal feasts and Sundays 
and Good Fridays, shall clearly cease from all showing 
of any goods and merchandises (necessary victual only 
excepted) upon pain of forfeiture of all the goods afore- 
said so showed, to the lord of the franchise or liberty 
where such goods, contrary to this ordinance be or shall 
be showed (the four Sundays in harvest excepted). 
Nevertheless of his special grace, by authority aforesaid, 
granteth to them power which of old time had no day to 
hold their fair or market, but only upon the festival days 
aforesaid, to hold by the same authority and strength of 
his old grant, within three days next before the said 
feasts, or next after, proclamation first made to the sim- 
ple common people, upon which day the aforesaid fair 
shall be holden, always to be certified, without any fine 
or fee to be taken to the king's use. And they which of 
old time have, by special grant, sufficient days before 
the feasts aforesaid, or after, shall in like manner, as 
aforesaid, hold their fairs and markets the full number 
of their days, the said festival days and Sundays and 
Good Fridays excepted. 

" Statutes Relating to the Ecclesiastical and Elee- 
mosynary Institutes of England," by Archi- 
bald John Stehhens, vol. i, p. no, seq. Also, 
*'Rev. Statutes," 1235-1685 a. d., pp. 347- 
349, London, 1870. 

In 1464 A. D., under Edward IV, an addition 
was made to the act of Henry VI, of 1448 A. D., 
declaring that — 

Cobblers and cordwainers in the city of London, or 
within three miles thereof, excepting within the precincts 

92 Sunday Legislation. 

of St. Martins-le-Grand and the palace at Westminster, 
were forbidden on any Sunday in the year, or on the 
feasts of the Nativity or Ascension of our Lord, or on 
the feast of Corpus Christi, to command or cause to be 
sold, or place or put on any one's feet or legs, any shoes, 
hose, or galoches, under the penalty of the forfeiture of 
the article and a fine of twenty shillings for every of- 
fense ; a third part to go to the king, a third to the gov- 
ernors of the guild [mestier) of p ordwains, and the resi- 
due to the informer. 

Neale, " Feasts and Fasts," p. 124. Also, Statutes 
of the 4th of Edward IV, chap. vii. 

In 1523 this act was repealed by Henry VIII. 
(15th Henry VIII, chap, ix.) 

Injunctions of Edward VI. 

On coming to the throne in 1547, Edward VI 
issued numerous '' injunctions " concerning relig- 
ious matters. Among them the following : 

Also, Like as the people be commonly occupied the 
-work-day with bodily labor, for their bodily sustenance, 
so was the holy day at first beginning, godly instituted 
and ordained, that the people should that day give them- 
selves wholly to God ; and whereas in our time, God is 
more offended than pleased, more dishonored than 
honored, upon the holy day, because of idleness, pride, 
drunkenness, quarreling, and brawling, which are most 
used in such days ; people nevertheless persuading them- 
selves sufficiently to honor God on that day if they hear 
mass and service, though they understand nothing to their 

Sunday Laws in England. 93 

edifying ; therefore all the king's faithful and loving sub- 
jects shall from henceforth celebrate and keep their holy 
day according to God's holy will and pleasure, that is in 
hearing the Word of God read and taught, in private 
and public prayers, in acknowledging their offenses to 
God, and amendment of the same, in reconciling their- 
selves charitably to their neighbors, where displeasure 
hath been, in oftentimes receiving the communion of the 
very body and blood of Christ, in visiting the poor and 
sick, and in using all soberness and godly conversation. 
Yet notwithstanding, all parsons, vicars, and curates 
shall teach and declare unto their parishioners, that they 
may, with a safe and quiet conscience, in the time of 
harvest, labor upon the holy and festival days, and save 
that thing which God hath sent; and if, for any scrupu- 
losity or grudge of conscience, men should superstitious- 
ly abstain from working upon those days, that then they 
should grievously offend and displease God. 

Wilkins, ^^ Concilia Magnae Britanniae et Hiber- 
niae," vol. iv, p. 6. Folio, London, 1737. 

In 1552, under Edward VI, we find the follow- 
ing, under the title, '' An act for the keeping holy 
days and fasting days." (Statutes of the Sth and 
6th of Edward VI, chap, iii) : 

Forasmuch as at all times men be not so mindful to 
laud and praise God, so ready to resort and hear God's 
holy word, and to come to the holy communion and 
other laudable rites, which are to be observed in every 
Christian congregation, as their bounden duty doth re- 
quire ; therefore, to call men to remembrance of their 
duty, and to help their infirmity, it hath been whole- 

94 Sunday Legislation. 

somely provided, that there should be some certain times 
and days appointed wherein the Christians should cease 
from all other kind of labors, and should apply them- 
selves only and wholly unto the aforesaid holy works, 
properly pertaining unto true religion, that is to hear, to 
learn, and to remember Almighty God's great benefits, 
his manifold mercies, his inestimable gracious goodness, 
so plenteously poured upon all his creatures, and that of 
his infinite and unspeakable goodness, without any man's 
desert ; and in remembrance hereof, to render unto him 
most high and hearty thanks with prayers and supplica- 
tions for the relief of all our daily necessities ; and be- 
cause these be chief and principal works wherein man is 
commanded to worship God, and to properly pertain 
unto the first table : therefore, as these works are most 
commonly, and also may well be called God's service, so 
the times appointed specially for the same are called 
holy days ; not for the matter and nature either of the 
time or day, nor for any of the saints' sake, whose mem- 
ories are had on these days (for so all days and times 
considered are God's creatures, all of like holiness), but 
for the nature and condition of those godly and holy 
works, wherewith only God is to be honored, and the con- 
gregation to be edified, whereunto such times and days 
are sanctified and hallowed ; this is to say, separated 
from all profane use, and dedicated and appointed, not 
unto any saint or creature, but only unto God and his 
true worship ; neither is it to be thought that there is 
any certain time or definite number of days prescribed 
in Holy Scripture, but that the appointment both of the 
time and also of the number of the days is left, by the 
authority of God's Word, to the liberty of Christ's 
Church, to be determined and assigned orderly in every 

Sunday Laws in England. 95 

country, by the discretion of the rulers and ministers 
thereof, as they shall judge most expedient to the true 
setting forth of God's glory, and the edification of their 
people ; be it therefore enacted by the king, our sover- 
eign lord, with the assent of the lords spiritual and tem- 
poral, and the commons in this present Parliament as- 
sembled, and by the authority of the same, that all the 
days hereafter mentioned, shall be kept and commanded 
to be kept holy days, and none other ; that is to say, all 
Sundays in the year, the days of the feast of the Cir- 
cumcision of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Epiphany, of 
the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, of Saint Matthie 
the Apostle, of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, 
of St. Mark the Evangelist, of St. Philip and Jacob the 
Apostles, of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, of 
the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, of St. Peter the 
Apostle, of St. James the Apostle, of St. Bartholomew 
the Apostle, of St. Matthew the Apostle, of St. Michael 
the Archangel, of St. Luke the Evangelist, of St. Simon 
and Jude the Apostles, of All Saints; of St. Andrew the 
Apostle, of St. Thomas the Apostle, of the Nativity of 
our Lord, of St. Stephen the Martyr, of St. John the 
Evangelist, of the Holy Innocents, Monday and Tues- 
day in Easter week, and Monday and Tuesday in Whit- 
sun week ; and that none other day shall be kept and 
commanded to be kept holy day, or to abstain from 
lawful bodily labor. 

11. And it is also enacted by the authority aforesaid, 
that every even, or day next going before, any of the 
aforesaid days of the feasts of the Nativity of our Lord, 
of Easter, of the Ascension of our Lord, Pentecost, and 
the Purification and Annunciation of the aforesaid 
Blessed Virgin, of All Saints, and of all the said feasts 

96 Sunday Legislation. 

of the apostles (other than of St. John the Evangelist, 
and Philip and Jacob), shall be fasted, and commanded 
to be kept and observed, and that none other even or 
day shall be commanded to be fasted. 

III. And it is enacted by the authority aforesaid 
that it shall be lawful to all archbishops and bishops in 
their dioceses, and to all other having ecclesiastical or 
spiritual jurisdiction, to inquire of every person that 
shall offend in the premises, and to punish every such 
offender by the censures of the Church, and to enjoin 
him or them such penance as shall be to the spiritual 
judge by his direction thought meet and convenient. 

IV. Provided, always, that this act, or anything 
therein contained, shall not extend to, abrogate, or take 
away the abstinence from flesh in Lent, or on Fridays 
and Saturdays, or any other day which is already ap- 
pointed so to be kept, by virtue of an act made and pro- 
vided in the third year of the reign of our sovereign lord 
the king's majesty that now is, saving only of those evens 
or days whereof the holy day next following is abrogated 
by this statute ; anything above mentioned to the con- 
trary in any wise notwithstanding. 

V. Provided also, and be it enacted by the authority 
aforesaid, that when and so often as it shall chance any 
of the said feasts (the evens whereof be by this statute 
commanded to be observed and kept fasting-day) to fall 
upon the Monday, that then as it hath always heretofore 
been accustomably used, so hereafter, the Saturday then 
next going before any such feast or holy day, and not the 
Sunday^ shall be commanded to be fasted for the even 
of any such feast or holy day ; anything in this statute 
before mentioned or declared to the contrary in any wise 

Sunday Laws in England. 97 

VI. Provided always, and it is enacted by the au- 
thority aforesaid, that it shall be lawful to every hus- 
bandman, laborer, fisherman, and to all and every other 
person or persons, of what estate, degree, or condition 
he or they may be, upon the holy days aforesaid ; in har- 
vest or at any other time of the year when necessity shall 
require, to labor, ride, fish, or work, any kind of work, 
at their free wills and pleasure ; anything in this act to 
the contrary in any wise notwithstanding. 

VII. Provided always, and be it enacted by the 
authority aforesaid, that it shall be lawful to the knights 
of the right honorable order of the Garter, and to every 
of them, to keep and celebrate solemnly the feast of 
their order, commonly called St. George^s feast, yearly 
from henceforth, the 2 2d, 23d, and 24th days of April, 
and at such other time and times as yearly shall be 
thought convenient by the king's highness, his heirs and 
successors, and the said knights of the said honorable 
order, or any of them, now being, or hereafter to be ; 
anything in this act heretofore mentioned to the contrary 

"Revised Statutes,'' from 1235-1685 a. d., pp. 
555-557, London, 1870. Also, " British Stat- 
utes at Large," vol. ii, p. 425, London, 1786. 

The above law was repealed the next year un- 
der Queen Mary. 

The influence of the Reformation gradually af- 
fected legislation concerning Sunday and its as- 
sociate holidays. Conservatism held sway during 
the time of Elizabeth. Neale speaks of her reign 
as follows : 

98 Sunday Legislation. 

A middle course seems to have been, in all ecclesias- 
tical matters, peculiarly characteristic of the reign of 
Elizabeth. If circumstances, or conviction, or both, 
carried her away from the ancient belief, she was not 
less disinclined to all that approached the views of the 
Calvinistic reformers ; that seed which in due time 
ripened among us into Puritanism. The act of Edward, 
by which the number of festivals whereof the observance 
was enjoined, was so materially curtailed, remained re- 
pealed throughout her reign as Mary had left it ; and an 
act passed soon after her accession places the observance 
of Sundays and other holidays on the same footing. 
Nor does she appear to have been inclined to enforce 
upon those days any strict abstinence from labor or 
secular business. Her injunctions, published in the first 
year of her reign, repeat the already cited direction of 
the first of Edward VI, and confine their prohibition 
against the selling of meat or drink, to the same time as 
the Cramner's Visitation Articles. 

Neale, ^' Feasts and Fasts,'' p. 187. 

An incident recorded by Wilkins shovv^s that 
Elizabeth lacked much of adopting the Puritan 
theory concerning Sunday. One of her subjects, 
John Seconton Powlter, having *' fallen into de- 
cay,*' sought to raise money for the support of his 
family, by Sunday sports, which from their nature 
drew large crowds of people. Queen Elizabeth 
granted him permission as follows : 

To have and use some plays and games at or uppon 
nyne severall Sondaies, for his better relief, comfort, and 

Sunday Laws in England. 99 

These games were archery of different sorts, 
leaping, wrestling, throwing the sledge, pitching 
the bar, and other similar sports, which were 
popular, especially with the ruder people. These 
games were not to be held in one locality for more 
than " three severall Sondaies," at a time. This 
was in 1569. (See Wilkins, ''Concilia Magnas 
Britannise et Hiberniae,'* vol. iv, p. 255.) 

Previous to this Elizabeth had put forth a list 
of injunctions, which had an air of regard for 
Sunday, but which really placed Sunday on the 
same plane with other Church holidays. The re- 
sult was, that although the spirit of Puritanism 
was working rapidly in certain quarters, the prac- 
tical observance of Sunday was at a low ebb. The 
following are her injunctions touching Sunday : 

Injunction 20. Item, all the queen's faithful and 
loving subjects shall, from henceforth celebrate and keep 
their holyday according to God's will and pleasure ; that 
is, in hearing the Word of God read and taught, in pri- 
vate and public prayers, in acknowledging their offenses 
unto God, and amendment of the same, in reconciling 
themselves charitably to their neighbors where displeas- 
ure hath been, in oftentimes receiving the communion 
of the very body and blood of Christ, in visiting of the 
poor and sick, using all soberness and godly conversation. 
Yet notwithstanding, all parsons, vicars, and curates 
shall teach and declare unto their parishioners, that they 
may with a safe and quiet conscience, after their common 
prayer in the time of harvest, labor upon the holy and 
festival days, and save that thing which God hath sent ; 

lOO Sunday Legislation. 

and if for any scrupulosity or grudge of conscience, men 
should superstitiously abstain from working upon those 
days, then they should grievously offend and displease 
God. . . . 

Injunction 33. Item, that no person shall, neglecting 
their own parish church, resort to any other church in 
time of common prayer or preaching, except it be by the 
occasion of some extraordinary sermon in some parish of 
the same town. . . . 

Injunction 46. Item, that in every parish three or 
four discrete men, which tender God's glory, and his 
true religion, shall be appointed by the ordinaries dili- 
gently to see, that all the parishioners duly resort to their 
church upon all Sundays and holy days, and there to 
continue the whole time of the godly service ; and all 
such as shall be found slack and negligent in resorting to 
the church, having no great or urgent cause of absence, 
they shall straightly call upon them, and after due ad- 
monition if they amend not, they shall denounce them 
to the ordinary. 

Wilkins, " Concilia Magnae Britanniae," etc., vol. 
iv, pp. 184, 186. 

The growth of Puritanism, and its effect on the 
general thought appears in the legislation under 
Charles I. A law enacted in 1625 runs as follows : 

Forasmuch as there is nothing more acceptable to 
God than the true and sincere service and worship of 
him according to his holy will, and that the holy keeping 
of the Lord's day is a principal part of the true service 
of God, which in very many places of this realm hath 
been, and now is, profaned and neglected by a disorderly 

Sunday Laws in England. loi 

sort of people, in exercising and frequenting bear-bait- 
ing, bull-baiting, interludes, common plays, and other 
unlawful exercises and pastimes upon the Lord's day ; 
and for that many quarrels, bloodsheds, and other great 
inconveniences have grown by the resort and concourse 
of people going out of their own parishes to such disor- 
derly and unlawful exercises and pastimes, neglecting 
divine service, both in their own parishes and elsewhere ; 
be it enacted by the king's most excellent majesty, the 
lords spiritual and temporal, and the commons, in this 
present Parliament assembled, and by the authority 
of the same, that from and after forty days next after 
the end of this Parliament, there shall be no meetings, 
assemblies, or concourse of people out of their own 
parishes^ on the Lord's day, within this realm of Eng- 
land or any the dominions thereof, for any sports 
and pastimes, whatsoever ; nor any bear-baitings bull- 
baiting, interludes, common plays, or other unlawful 
plays and pastimes, used by any person or persons 
in their own parishes ; and that any person or persons 
offending in the premises, shall forfeit for every of- 
fense three shillings four pence, the same to be employed 
and converted to the use of the poor of the parish where 
the offense shall be committed ; and that any one justice 
of the peace of the county, or the chief officer or officers 
of any city, borough, or town corporate, where such of- 
fense shall be committed, upon his or their view, or con- 
fession of the party, or proof of any one or more witness 
by oath, which the said justice or chief officer or officers 
shall by virtue of this act have authority to minister, 
shall find any person offending in the premises, the said 
justice or chief officer or officers shall give warrant under 
his or their hand and seal, to the constables or church- 

I02 Sunday Legislation. 

wardens of the parish or parishes where such offense shall 
be committed, to levy the said penalty so to be assessed, 
by way of distress and sale of the goods of every such 
offender, rendering to the said offender the overplus of 
the money raised of the said goods so to be sold ; and in 
default of such distress, that the party thus offending be 
set publicly in the stocks by the space of three hours ; 
and that if any man be sued or impeached for execution 
of this law, he shall and may plead the general issue, and 
give the said matter of justification in evidence ; pro- 
vided that no man be impeached by this act except he 
be called in question within one month next after the 
said offense committed ; provided also, that the ecclesi- 
astical jurisdiction within this realm, or any dominion 
thereof, by virtue of this act or anything therein con- 
tained shall not be abridged, but that the ecclesiastical 
court may punish the said offenses as if this act had 
not been made. This act to continue until the end of 
the first session of the next Parliament, and no longer. 
Statutes of Charles I, chap. i. '^ Revised Stat- 
utes,'* from 1 235-1685 A. D., p. 710, London, 
1870. Also, ** British Statutes at Large/* 
vol. iii, p. 119, London, 1786. 

Meanwhile, the Puritan element was rapidly- 
gaining influence, and attempts were made to 
bring about an observance of Sunday, which was 
deemed hyper-strict by the majority of the Eng- 
lish people. To counteract this tendency, and to 
cater to the tastes of the people at large, Charles 
I republished the famous *' Book of Sports,'' which 
was first published by his father, James I, in 1618. 
Its appearance at that time had contributed much 

Sunday Laws in England. 103 

to the influences which drove the Pilgrims to Hol- 
land, and finally to America. The command of 
James that it be read in the churches, on specified 
occasions, was not long complied with and it had 
fallen out of the public mind somewhat, when 
Charles I called it up in 1633. The following is 
the complete official text : 

The King's Majesty's Declaration to his Subjects 
Concerning Lawful Sports to be used. 

By the King. 

Our dear father of blessed memory in his return 
from Scotland, coming through Lancashire, found that 
his subjects were debarred from lawful recreations upon 
Sundays after evening prayers ended, and upon holy 
days ; and he prudently considered that if these times 
were taken from them, the meaner sort, who labour hard 
all the week, should have no recreations at all to re- 
fresh their spirits. And after his return he further saw 
that his loyal subjects in all other parts of the kingdom 
did suffer in the same kind, though, perhaps, not in the 
same degree, and did, therefore, in his princely wisdom 
publish a declaration to his loving subjects concerning 
lawful sports to be used at such times, which was printed 
and published by his royal commandment in the year 
16 1 8, in the tenor which hereafter followeth. 

By the King. 

Whereas, upon our return the last year out of Scot- 
land, we did publish our pleasure touching the recrea- 
tions of our people in those parts under our hand ; for 
some causes us thereunto moving, we have thought good 
to command these, our directions then given in Lan- 

I04 Stmday Legislation. 

cashire, with a few words thereunto added, and most 
applicable to those parts of the realms, to be published 
to all our subjects. 

Whereas, we did justly in our progress through 
Lancashire, rebuke some Puritans and precise people, 
and took order that the like unlawful carriage should 
not be used by any of them hereafter in the prohibiting 
and unlawful punishing of our good people for using 
their lawful recreations and honest exercises upon Sun- 
days and other holy days after the afternoon sermon or 
service ; we now find that two sorts of people, wherewith 
the country is much infected (we mean Papists and Puri- 
tans), have maliciously traduced and calumniated our 
just and honorable proceedings, and, therefore, lest our 
reputation might upon the one side, though innocently, 
have some aspersion laid upon it, and that upon the other 
part, our good people in that country be misled by the 
mistaking and misrepresentation of our meaning — we 
have therefore thought good hereby to clear and make 
our pleasure to be manifested to all our good people in 
those parts. 

It is true that at our first entry to this crown and 
kingdom we were informed, and that too truly, that our 
\:ounty in Lancashire abounded more in popish recu- 
sants than any county of England ; and hath still con- 
tinued, to our great regret, with little amendment save 
that now of late, in our last riding through our said 
county, we find, both by the report of the judges and 
of the bishop of the diocese, that there is some amend- 
ment now daily beginning, which is no small content- 
ment to us. 

The report of this growing amendment among them 
made us the more sorry, when, with our own ears, we had 

Sunday Laws in England. 105 

heard the general complaint of our people, that they were 
barred from all lawful recreation and exercise upon the 
Sunday afternoon after the ending of all divine service, 
which can not but produce two evils ; the one hindering 
of the conversion of many, whom their priests will take 
occasion hereby to vex, persuading them that no honest 
mirth or recreation is lawful on those days, which can 
not but breed a great discontent in our people's hearts, 
especially of such as are peradventure upon the point 
of turning ; the other inconvenience is, that this prohibi- 
tion (bareth) the common and meaner sort of people 
from using such exercises as may make their bodies more 
able for war, whenever we or our successors shall have 
occasion to use them ; and in place thereof, set up filthy 
tippHngs and drunkenness, and breeds a number of idle 
and discontented speeches in their alehouses. For 
when shall the common people have leave to exercises if 
not upon Sundays and holy days, seeing they must live 
by their labor, and win their living in all working days. 
Our express pleasure, therefore, is that the laws of 
our kingdom and canons of our Church be as well ob- 
served in that county as in all other places of this our 
kingdom. And on the other part, that no lawful recre- 
ations shall be barred to our good people, which shall 
not tend to the breach of our aforesaid laws, and canons 
of our Church, which, to express more particularly our 
pleasure, is that the bishops and all other inferior clergy- 
men and church-wardens shall for their parts be careful 
and diligent both to instruct the ignorant, and convince 
and reform them that are misled in religion, presenting 
them that will not conform themselves, but obstinately 
stand out, to our judges and justices ; whom we likewise 
command to put the laws in due execution against them. 

io6 Sunday Legislation. 

Our pleasure, likewise, is that the bishop of the diocese 
take the like strait order with all the Puritans and pre- 
cisians within the same, either constraining them to con- 
form themselves, or leave the county, according to the 
laws of our kingdom, and canon of our Church, and so 
to strike equally on both hands against the contemners 
of our authority and adversaries of our Church. And 
as for our good people's lawful recreation, our pleasure 
likewise is, that after the end of divine service our good 
people be not disturbed, letted, or discouraged from any 
lawful recreation, such as dancing, either men or women, 
archery for men, leaping, vaulting, or any other such 
harmless recreation, or from having May games, Whitson- 
ales, and morris dances, and the setting up of May poles 
and other sports therewith used, so as the same be had 
in due and convenient time without impediment or neg- 
lect of divine service ; and that women shall have leave 
to carry rushes to church for the decorating of it, ac- 
cording to their old custom. But withal we do here ac- 
count still as prohibited all unlawful games to be used 
on Sundays, only as bear and bull baitings, interludes, 
and at all times in the meaner sort of people by law 
prohibited bowling. 

And likewise we bar from the benefit and liberty all 
such known recusants, either men or women, as will ab- 
stain from coming to church or divine service, being 
therefore unworthy of any lawful recreation after said 
service, that will not first come to church and serve God. 
Prohibiting in like sort the said recreations to any that, 
though conform in religion, are not present in the church 
at the service of God, before their going to the said rec- 

Our pleasure, likewise is, that they to whom it be- 

Sunday Laws in England. 107 

longeth in office, shall present and punish sharply all 
such, as in abuse of this our liberty will use their ex- 
ercises before the end of all divine services for that day. 
And we likewise straitly command that every person 
shall resort to his own parish church to hear divine 
service, and each parish by itself to use the said recrea- 
tions after divine service. Prohibiting likewise any 
offensive weapons to be carried or used in the said 
times of recreations. And our pleasure is that this our 
declaration shall be published by order from the bishop 
of the diocese through all the parish churches, and that 
both our judges of our circuits and our justices of our 
peace be informed thereof. Given at our mannor of 
Greenwich, the 24th day of May, in the sixteenth year 
of our reign in England, France, and Ireland, and of 
Scotland the 51st. 

Now, out of a like pious care for the service of God, 
and for suppressing of any humors that oppose truth, 
and for the ease, comfort, and recreation of our well-de- 
serving people, we do ratify and publish this our blessed 
father's declaration, the rather because of late in some 
counties of our kingdom we find, that under pretense of 
taking away abuses there hath been a general forbidding, 
not only of ordinary meetings, but of the feasts of the 
dedication of the churches, commonly called *' Wakes." 
Now, our express will and pleasure is, that the feasts 
with others shall be observed, and that our justices 
of the peace in their several divisions shall look to it, 
both that all disorders there may be prevented or pun- 
ished, and that all neighborhood and freedom with man- 
like and lawful exercises be used. And we further com- 
mand the justices of the assizes in their several circuits 
to see that no man do trouble or molest any of our loyal 

io8 Sunday Legislation. 

and dutiful people in or for their lawful recreations, 
having first done their duty to God, and continuing in 
obedience to us and our laws. And of this we command 
all our judges, justices of the peace, as well within liber- 
ties as without, mayors, bailiffs, constables, and other 
officers, to take notice of and see observed, as they 
tender our displeasure. And we further will that publi- 
cation of this our command be made by order from the 
bishops through all the parish churches of their several 
dioceses respectively. 

Given at our palace of Westminster, the i8th day of 
October, in the ninth year of our reign. God save the 
King. (1633 A. D.) 

"Concilia Magnse Britanniae et Hiberniae," vol. 
iv, pp. 483, 484, London, 1737. 

The act of the 29th of Charles II, chap, vii, 
issued in 1676, was the law of the American colo- 
nies up to the time of the Revolution, and so be- 
came the basis of the American Sunday laws. It 
runs as follows : 

For the better observation and keeping holy the 
Lord's day, commonly called Sunday : be it enacted by 
the king's most excellent majesty, and by and with the 
advice and consent of the lords, spiritual and temporal, 
and of the commons in this present Parliament assem- 
bled, and by the authority of the same, that all the laws 
enacted and in force concerning the observation of the 
day, and repairing to the church thereon, be carefully put 
in execution ; and that all and every person and persons 
whatsoever shall upon every Lord's day apply themselves 
to the observation of the same, by exercising themselves 

Sunday Laws in England, 109 

thereon in the duties of piety and true religion, publicly 
and privately ; and that no tradesman, artificer, work- 
man, laborer, or other person whatsoever, shall do or 
exercise any worldly labor or business or work of their 
ordinary callings upon the Lord's day, or any part there- 
of (works of necessity and charity only excepted), and 
that every person being of the age of fourteen years or 
upwards offending in the premises shall, for every such 
offense, forfeit the sum of five shillings ; and that no 
person or persons whatsoever shall publicly cry, show 
forth, or expose for sale any wares, merchandise, fruit, 
herbs, goods, ar chattels whatsoever, upon the Lord's 
day, or any part thereof, upon pain that every person so 
offending shall forfeit the same goods so cried or showed 
forth or exposed for sale. 

2. And it is further enacted that no drover, horse- 
courser, wagoner, butcher, higgler — they or any of their 
servants shall travel or come into his or their inn 
or lodging upon the Lord's day, or any part thereof, 
upon pain that each and every such offender shall forfeit 
twenty shillings for every such offense ; and that no per- 
son or persons shall use, imploy, or travel upon the 
Lord's day with any boat, wherry, lighter, or barge, ex- 
cept it be upon extraordinary occasion to be allowed 
by some justice of the peace of the county, or some head 
officer, or some justice of the peace of the city, borough, 
or town corporate, where the fact shall be committed, 
upon pain that ever person so offending shall forfeit and 
lose the sum of five shillings for every such offense. 

The remainder of section 2 places such cases 
in the hands of ordinary justices of the peace, 
orders the confiscation of goods cried or exposed, 

no Sunday Legislation. 

and the collection of fines by distraint if needful. 
In case the offender can not meet the penalties, he 
shall '* be set public in the stocks for the space of 
two hours/* 

3. Provided, that nothing in this act contained shall 
extend to the prohibiting of dressing meats in families, 
or dressing or selUng of meat in inns, cook-shops, vict- 
ualing houses, for such as otherwise can not be provided, 
nor to the crying or selling of milk before nine of the 
clock in the morning, or after four of the clock in the 

Sec. 4 requires all prosecution to be made 
within ten days of the offense. 

Sec. 5 protects the district in which any one 
traveling on Sunday may chance to be robbed 
from being responsible for the amount lost, but 
requires the people to make diligent effort to ap- 
prehend the robber after '' hue and cry '* has been 
made, under penalty of forfeiting to the crown the 
amount which might have been recovered. 

Sec. 6. Provided, also, that no person or persons 
upon the Lord's day shall serve or execute, or cause to be 
served or executed, any writ, process, warrant, order 
judgment, or decree (except in case of treason, felony, or 
breach of the peace), but that the service of every such 
writ, process, warrant, order, judgment, or decree, shall 
be void to all intents and purposes whatever ; and the 
person or persons so serving or executing the same shall 
be as liable to the suit of the party grieved, and to answer 
damages to him for the doing thereof, as if he or they 

Sunday Laws in England. 1 1 1 

had done the same without any writ, process, warrant, 

order, judgment, or decree at all. 

" Revised Statutes of England from 1 235-1685 
A. D.,'* pp. 779, 780, London, 1870. Also, 
'' British Statutes at Large," vol. iii, p. 365, 
London, 1786. 

A statute of the 7th of William III, chap, xvii, for 
Ireland, 1695, forbade general work, and specified 
many boisterous games, which seem to have been 
very prevalent. Traveling was also forbidden. 

As a whole, the law was Puritanic, and yet 
contained such "• exceptions " as made it easy to 
do what one might wish. 

It is essentially the same as the law of Charles 
II, of 1676, given above. It restricted the sale of 
liquor at taverns and gave some additional power 
to officers. (''Irish Statutes," vol. iii, p. 314; see 
also p. 286, Dublin, 1765.) 

A statute of the 9th of Anne, chap, xxiii, 1710 
A. D., virtually repealed all former acts concerning 
coaches. It was as follows : 

And whereas, by an act of Parliament made in the 
29th year of the reign of King Charles II, and other acts 
formerly made for the better observation of the Lord's 
day, commonly called Sunday, the standing to hire and 
driving hackney-coaches, and the standing to hire and 
carrying of chairs, on the Lord's day, are, or may be 
understood to be, forbidden or restrained ; and whereas 
the said restraint is many times found inconvenient, as 
well in order to the observation of the day as otherwise : 

112 Sunday Legislation, 

Be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid, that it 
shall and may be lawful to and for any licensed hackney- 
coachman, or his driver, or any chairman, to ply and 
stand with their coaches and chairs, and to drive and 
carry the same, respectively, on the Lord's day, within 
the limits of the said weekly bills of mortality ; the for- 
mer acts, one or any of them, or any construction there- 
upon, to the contrary notwithstanding. 

" Statutes,'* etc., vol. iv, p. 476. 

A statute of George III, 1781 a. d., entitled, 
" An act for preventing certain abuses and pro- 
fanations on the Lord's day, called Sunday " (chap, 
xlix), was aimed at public meetings held in London 
on Sunday evening, at which, '' under pretense of 
inquiring into religious doctrines, and explaining 
texts of the Holy Scripture, debates have fre- 
quently been held on the evening of the Lord's 
day concerning divers texts of Holy Scripture 
by persons unlearned and incompetent to explain 
the same, to the corruption of good morals, and 
to the great encouragement of irreligion and pro- 
faneness/' etc. 

This act forbids any such meeting to which 
people were admitted for money, or by tickets 
sold for money. Presiding officers, ticket-vend- 
ers, etc., were liable to arrest and a fine of fifty 
pounds. Also the persons advertising such meet- 
ings were liable to same fine. (" Statutes," etc., 
vol. ix, p. 163.) 

A statute of George III, A. D. 1794, concerning 
bakers, aimed to meet the custom of continuing 

Sunday Laws in England. 113 

business by bakers, under plea of necessity and 

It forbids bakers to pursue business in London, 
or within twelve miles thereof, under penalty of 
ten shillings. The second clause gives the follow- 
ing liberal exception : 

Provided, always, that nothing herein contained shall 
extend, or be construed to extend, to prohibit the selling 
of bread, or to prohibit or make liable to the penalties of 
this act, any master or journeyman baker, or other per- 
son, baking meat, puddings, or pies, only, on the Lord's 
day between the hours of nine of the clock in the fore- 
noon and one of the clock in the afternoon, so as the 
person requiring the baking thereof shall carry or send 
the same to and from the place where such meat, pud- 
ding, or pies is baked. 

"Statutes,*' etc., vol/xii, p. 547. 

In 1 82 1, under George IV, the foregoing law 
concerning bakers was amended by certain addi- 
tions, but not materially altered. A little later all 
acts relative to bakers in and about London were 
repealed, and a general law was enacted forbid- 
ding baking between 9 A. M. and i P. M. on Sunday. 
This, however, granted exceptions in favor of ne- 
cessary work in sponging and preparing bread for 
the next day's baking. The first offense under 
this law was made punishable by a fine of ten shil- 
lings, the second by twenty shillings, and the third 
and all succeeding offenses by forty shillings. In 
all cases the costs were to be paid by the offender. 

114 Sunday Legislation. 

Under this general law, the delivery of bread is 
permitted until half past i P. M. (" Statutes of the 
United Kingdom," vol. viii, p. 364, London, 1822.) 
We have thus traced the English laws to a 
point considerably later than the date of those 
laws which gave rise to the laws of America. 
Several enactments relative to the sale of intoxi- 
cating drinks have been made from time to time 
in the British Empire, which do not properly 
come within the scope of these pages. Neither is 
it our province to enter into a discussion of the 
merits of these different enactments ; it is rather 
our aim to present them in such a way that the 
reader may gain all necessary and definite in- 
formation concerning what has been and is the 
prevailing legislation concerning Sunday in Eng- 




The legislation which was peculiarly Puri- 
tanic, in England, dates, in general, from 1640 to 
1660 A. D. It is of special significance to Ameri- 
can readers, since it indicates high-water mark in 
the tide of influences which developed the char- 
acter, and gave form to the earlier Sunday legis- 
lation in the colonies and the United States. It 
will be seen that these laws are at once theologi- 
cal treatises and civil enactments. They appear 
here in chronological order, and will repay careful 
study, in spite of their length and verbosity : 

Forasmuch as the Lord's-day, notwithstanding sev- 
eral good laws heretofore made, hath been not onely 
greatly prophaned, but divers ungodly Books have been 
published by the Prelatical Faction, against the morality 
of that day, and to countenance the prophanation of the 
same, to the manifest indangering of souls, prejudice of 
the true Religion, great dishonour of Almighty God, and 
provocation of his just wrath and indignation against 
this Land ! 

The Lords and Commons for remedy thereof, do 

1 1 6 Sunday Legislation. 

Order and Ordain, and be it Ordered and Ordained, 
That all the Laws Enacted and in force, concerning the 
observation of the Lord's day, be caefully put in execu- 
tion ; and that all and singular person and persons what- 
soever, shall on every Lord's day, apply themselves to 
the sanctification of the same, by exercising themselves 
thereon, in the duties of Piety and true Religion, pub- 
lickly and privately : And that no person or persons 
whatsoever, shall publickly cry, shew forth, or expose to 
sale, any Wares, Merchandizes, Fruit, Herbs, Goods or 
Chattels whatsoever, upon the Lord's day, or any part 
thereof; upon pain. That every person so offending, 
shall forfeit the same Goods so cryed, shewed forth, or 
put to sale : And that no person or persons whatsoever, 
shall, without reasonable cause for the same, travel, carry 
burthens, or do any worldly labours, or work whatsoever, 
upon that day, or any part thereof; upon pain, That 
every one travelling contrary to the meaning of this Or- 
dinance shall forfeit for every offence, ten shillings of 
lawful money ; and that every person carrying any bur- 
then, or doing any worldly labour or work, contrary to 
the meaning hereof, shall forfeit five shillings of like 
money for every such offence. 

And be it further Ordained, That no person or per- 
sons shall hereafter upon the Lord's day, use, exercise, 
keep, maintain, or be present at any Wrastlings, Shoot- 
ing, Bowling, Ringing of Bells for Pleasure or Pastime, 
Masque, Wake, otherwise called Feasts, Church-Ale, 
Dancing, Games, Sport or Pastime whatsoever ; upon 
pain. That every person so offending, being above the 
age of fourteen years, shall lose, and forfeit five shillings 
for every such offense. 

And be it further Ordained, That all and singular 

During the Puritan Supremacy. 1 1 7 

person and persons, that have the care, government, tu- 
ition or education of any childe or children, under, or 
within the age of fourteen years, shall forfeit and lose 
twelve pence for every of the said offenses that shall be 
committed by any such childe or children. 

And because the prophanation of the Lord's day hath 
been heretofore greatly occasioned by May-Poles, (a 
Heathenish vanity, generally abused to superstition and 
wickedness.) The Lords and Commons do further Or- 
der and Ordain, That all and singular May-poles, that 
are or shall be erected, shall be taken down and re- 
moved by the Constables, Borsholders, Tythingmen, 
petty Constables, and Church wardens of the parishes, 
and places where the same be : And that no May- 
Pole shall be hereafter set up, erected, or suffered to 
be within this Kingdom of England, or Dominion of 

And it is further Ordained, That if any of the said 
Officers shall neglect to do their Office in the Premises, 
within one week after notice of this Ordinance, every of 
them, for such neglect, shall forfeit five shillings of law- 
full Moneys ; and so from week to week, weekly Five 
shillings more afterward, till the said May-Pole shall be 
taken down, and removed. 

And that if any Justice of the Peace of the County, 
or the chief Officer or Officers, or any Justice of the 
Peace, of, or within any City, Borough or Town-Cor- 
porate, where the said offenses shall be committed, upon 
his or their view, or confession of the party, or proof of 
any one or more witnesses by Oath (which the said 
Justice, chief Officer or Officers, is by this Ordinance 
auhorized to minister) shall find any person offend- 
ing in the Premises, the said Justice, or chief Officer 

1 1 8 Sunday Legislation, 

or Officers, shall give Warrant under his or their hand 
and Seal, to the Constables or Churchwardens of the 
Parish or Parishes where such offense shall be com- 
mitted, to seize the said Goods, cryed, shewed forth, 
or put to sale as aforesaid; and to levy the said 
other Forfeitures or Penalties by way of Distress and 
Sale of the Goods of every such Offender, rendring 
to the said Offenders the overplus of the money raised 
thereby ; and in default of such Distress, or in case of 
insufficiency, or inability of the Offender to pay the said 
Forfeitures or Penalties, That the party offending be 
set publiquely in the Stocks by the space of three hours : 
And all and singular the forfeitures or Penalties afore- 
said, shall be imployed and converted to the use of the 
Poor of the Parish where the said offenses shall be com- 
mitted, saving onely, that it shall and may be lawfull, to, 
and for such Justice, mayor, or Head Officer or Officers, 
out of the said Forfeitures or Penalties, to reward any 
person or persons that shall inform of any offense against 
this Ordinance, according to their -discretions ; so as 
such reward exceed not the third part of the Forfeiture 
or Penalties. 

And it is further Ordained by the said Lords and 
Commons, That the King's Declaration concerning ob- 
serving of Wakes, and use of exercise and recreation 
upon the Lord's-day; the Book intitled, The Kings 
Majesty's Declaration to his Subjects, concerning lawful 
Sports to be used ; and all other Books and Pamphlets 
that have been, or shall be written. Printed, or Pub- 
lished, against the Morality of the fourth Commandment, 
or of the Lord's day, or to countenance the prophanation 
thereof, be called in, seized, suppressed, and publiquely 
burnt by the Justices of Peace, or some or one of them, or 

During the Puritan Supremacy. 119 

by the chief Officer or Officers aforesaid, in their several 
limits, or by their warrant or command. 

Provided, and be it Declared, That nothing in this 
Ordinance shall extend to the prohibiting of dressing 
meat in private Families, or the dressing and sale of 
Victuals in a moderate way in Inns or Victualling- 
houses, for the use of such as cannot otherwise be 
provided for; or to the crying or selling Milk before 
Nine of the Clock in the Morning, or after four of the 
Clock in the Afternoon, from the Tenth of September 
till the Tenth of March ; or before Eight of the Clock 
in the Morning, or after Five of the Clock in the After- 
noon, from the Tenth of March till the Tenth of Sep- 

And whereas there is great breach of the Sabbath, by 
Rogues, Vagabonds, and Beggars, It is further Or- 
dained, That the Lord Mayor of the City of London, 
and all Justices of the Peace, Constables, Churchward- 
ens, and other Officers and Ministers whatsoever, shall 
from time to time, cause all Laws against Rogues, and 
Vagabonds, and Beggars, to be put in due execution ; 
and take order, that all Rogues, Vagabonds, and Beg- 
gars do on every Sabbath day repair to some Church or 
Chapel, and remain there soberly and orderly, during 
the time of Divine Worship. 

And that all and singular Person and Persons that 
shall do anything in the execution of this Ordinance, 
shall be protected and saved harmless by the Power and 
Authority of Parliament. 

And be it further Ordained, That this Ordinance be 
Printed and Published, and read in all Parish Churches 
and Chappels, before the Sermon in the Morning, on 
some Lord*s-day, before the First of May next, on the 

I20 Sunday Legislation. 

South side of Trent ; and before the First of June next 
on the North side of Trent. 
Dated 6 April, 1644. 

Scobell's " Acts of Cromwell," pp. dZ^ 69, part i, 
London, 1658. 

In spite of all efforts by Church and state 
there was still much disregard for the Sunday, 
and six years later we find the following more 
stringent enactments put forth : 

For the more effectual executing of all such Laws, 
Statutes and Ordinances of Parliament, for the due Ob- 
servation and Sanctification of the Lord's-day, days of 
publique Humiliation and Thanksgiving and for the 
further preventing the prophanation thereof. It is En- 
acted and Declared by this present Parliament, and by 
the Authority of the same, That all and every High Con- 
stable, Petty Constable, Headborough, Churchwarden 
or Overseer of the Poor or other Officers, or any of the 
Governors of the Company of Watermen, upon their 
own view or knowledge of any the offense or offenses 
committed or done against any Article, Clause, or pro- 
vision of any the said Laws, Statutes, or Ordinances ; 
and all and every person and persons whatsoever, by 
Warrant from any Justice of Peace, Mayor, Bayliff or 
other Head-Officer, are hereby authorized and required 
to seize and secure all such Wares or Goods cryed, 
shewed forth or put to sale upon the days and times 
aforesaid, contrary to this present Act, or any Statute or 
Ordinance of Parliament, to the end proceedings may 
be thereupon had, according to the true intent and 
meaning of this present Act, or any the said Laws, 
Statutes and Ordinances. 

During the Puritan Supremacy. 121 

And it is further Enacted, That no Traveller, Wag- 
goner, Butcher, Higler, Drover, their or any of their 
Servants, shall travel or come into his or their Inn or 
Lodging, after Twelve of the Clock on any Saturday 
night ; nor shall any person travel from his House, Inn 
or other place, till after one a clock on Munday morn- 
ing, without good and urgent cause, not incurred 
through the neglect or occasion of the person so doing, 
to be allowed by any Justice of the Peace or Head Offi- 
cer before whom complaint shall be made, upon pain 
that every such Traveller, Waggoner, Butcher, Higler. 
Drover and their Servants, and also every Inn keeper 
and Alehouse keeper that shall so entertain him or 
them, shall each of them forfeit Ten shillings for every 
such oifense. 

And if any Writ, Warrant or Order (except in case 
of Treason, Murther, Felony, or breach of the Peace, 
prophanation of the Lord's-Day, days of Thanksgiving 
or Humiliation, or suspition of them or either or any of 
them) shall be from and after the First day of May, in 
the year One thousand six hundred and fifty, served 
or executed upon any the aforesaid days, every such 
execution of such Writ, Warrant or Order upon the 
said days respectively, shall be, and is hereby declared 
to be of no effect ; and the person or persons that shall 
serve or execute such Writ, Warrant or Order, or cause 
the same to be served or executed, shall forfeit and pay 
to the use of the poor of the parish where such offense 
shall be committed five pounds, to be levied upon his or 
their goods and Chattels in maner aforesaid, rendering 
the overplus. 

And it is further Enacted and Declared by the Au- 
thority aforesaid. That no person or persons shall use. 

122 Sunday Legislation. 

imploy or travel upon the Lord's-day, or the said days 
of Humiliation or Thanksgiving, with any Boat, Wher- 
ry, Lighter, Barge, Horse, Coach or Sedan, either in the 
City of London or elsewhere (except it be to or from 
some place for the service of God, or upon other extraor- 
dinary occasion, to be allowed by the next Justice of 
Peace to the place where the said fact shall be com- 
mitted ; ) upon pain that every such person or persons 
that shall use such Boat, Wherry, Lighter, Barge, Horse, 
Coach or Sedan, contrary to the true meaning of this 
present Act (except it be in the Cases aforesaid) shall 
for every such Offense forfeit and lose the sum of Ten 
shillings ; and that every Boat-man, Sedan-man, Coach- 
man or other person, that shall so labor or travel in or 
with any such Boat, Wherry, Lighter, Barge, Sedan, 
Horse or Coach, shall forfeit for every such offense Five 

And it is further enacted and declared. That 
every person and persons which upon the said Lord*s 
day, days of Humiliation or Thanksgiving, shall be in 
any Tavern, Inn, Alehouse, Tobacco-house or Shop or 
Victualling House (unless he lodge there, or be there up- 
on some lawful or necessary occasion) to be allowed of 
"by such Judge, Justice, or other person who is author- 
ized by this Act to put the same in execution ; and 
every person or persons which upon the said days shall 
be dancing, prophanely singing, drinking or tipling in 
any Tavern, Inn, Alehouse, Victualling-house, or Tobac- 
co-house or Shop, or shall harbor or entertain any per- 
son or persons so offending ; or which shall grinde or 
cause to be ground in any Mill, any Corn or grain upon 
any the said days, except in case of necessity, to be al- 
lowed by a Justice of the Peace, every such Offender 

During the Puritan Supremacy. 123 

shall forfeit and pay the sum of ten shillings for every 
such offense, to be levied as aforesaid. 

And for the more vigorous and due execution of the 
Laws, Statutes and Ordinances aforesaid, and of this 
present Act, it is hereby further Enacted, That every 
Justice of the Peace, Head Officer, or Officers of every 
Town Corporate or place, and every Constable, Head- 
borough, Churchwarden, Overseer of the Poor, and 
Governors of the Company of Watermen, and other 
persons authorized as aforesaid, are hereby required and 
enjoined to make diligent search for the discovering, 
finding out, apprehending and punishing of all Offend- 
ers against this and other Laws, Ordinances and Acts 
made for the Observation of the Lord's-day, and Days of 
PubHque Fasting and Thanksgiving; And if any the 
said Justices of Peace, and other Officers aforesaid, upon 
View or Information of any the said Offenses to be com- 
mitted, shall be negligent, or refuse to do his duty in 
putting this or other the said Ordinances, Laws or Acts 
in execution, ever such Justice of the Peace, and other 
Head-Officer, upon proof thereof before the Lord Chief 
Justice of either Bench, or Lord Chief Baron of the 
Exchequer, or before any Judge or Judges of Assize, by 
one or more Witnesses, or by view or confession of the 
party, shall for every such Offense incur the Penalty of 
Five pounds, and upon refusal of payment thereof, to be 
levyed upon his Goods or Chattels, by Warrant from the 
said Lord Chief Justices, or Lord Chief Baron, Judge or 
Judges of Assize respectively, by distress and sale of the 
Goods of every such person, returning the overplus ; 
and every High Constable, Petty Constable, Churchward- 
en and other Officer, shall forfeit and pay for his 
neglect aforesaid, the sum of Twenty shillings; and for 

124 Sunday Legislation, 

default of payment thereof, the same to be levyed by 
Warrant from any Justice of the Peace, directed to the 
High Constable of the Hundred, or other Officer where 
the Offense shall be committed, for the levying of the 
said penalty by way of distress and sale of the Offenders 
Goods, and returning the overplus as aforesaid; And 
all other penalties imposed by this Act, for which no 
way of levying is provided by the said former Laws and 
Ordinances, shall be levyed by Warrant from any one 
Justice of Peace, Mayor, Bayliff, or Head Officer, by dis- 
tress and sale of the Offenders goods ; and for want of 
payment thereof, or such distress to be found, by setting 
the Offenders in the Stocks or Cage for the space of six 

And it is likewise Enacted and Declared, That all 
Judges, Justices of Assize, and Justices of Peace at their 
Assizes or Quarter Sessions, shall in their several and 
respective Circuits and Courts give in charge to the 
Grand Jury, to enquire of and present all neglects of 
Justices, Constables, and Other Officers in the due exe- 
cution of this present Act, and other Laws, Ordinances 
and Statutes made for the Observation of the Lord's 
day, and Days of Publique Fasting and Thanksgiving, 
.who are hereby strictly commanded to present the 

And it is also hereby Enacted, That the Lord Mayor 
and iVldermen, Sheriffs, and Justices of Peace of the 
City of London, County of Middlesex, and City of West- 
minster, and Borough of Southwark, together with the 
Heads and Governors of the several Inns of Court and 
Chancery ; and all and every Justice of Peace, Mayors, 
Bayliffs, and other Head Officers, and every of them, 
are hereby authorized and required to take a speedy and 

During the P2iritan Supremacy. 125 

effectual course, by such means as they shall think most 
meet within their respective Jurisdictions, to restrain as 
aforesaid the prophanation of the said days ; upon pain 
that the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, Sheriffs and Justices in 
London, and Middlesex, and Westminster, Heads of the 
several Inns or Courts, and Chancery, Justices and other 
Head-Officers, which shall neglect to do what belongs to 
their several duties and places therein, shall forfeit the 
sum of Five pounds, to be levyed in such manner as the 
fines imposed on Justices of Peace for their neglects, are 
hereby appointed to be levyed as aforesaid. 

And it is Enacted and Declared by the Authority 
aforesaid, That this Act be forthwith printed and bound 
up together with all the former Statutes and Ordinances 
now in force for observation of the Lord's day, Pub- 
lique Fasting, and Thanksgiving days, and published by 
the Justice of Peace, or Chief Officer or Officers afore- 
said, and read at their next Quarter Sessions after they 
shall receive the same ; and also by them sent unto or 
left at the several houses of the Ministers of the respect- 
ive Parishes within their respective limits, who are here- 
by required and appointed in all the Churches and 
Chappels within this Commonwealth, publiquely to read 
or cause to be read, all and every the said Statutes and 
Ordinances so bound up together, the next Lord's- 
day after he or they shall receive the same, before the 
morning Sermon ; and that afterward once every year 
(viz.) upon the first Lord's-day in March, before the 
morning Sermon, they read or cause to be read like- 
wise this present and the former Acts and Ordinances 
aforesaid ; the due performance whereof the said Justices 
of Peace and other Head Officers are commanded to 
inquire after, and certifie the names of the persons 

126 Sunday Legislation. 

making default in reading and publishing the premises, 
according to this present Act, to the Speaker of the Par- 
liament, and in the intervals thereof, to the Council of 
State ; and the Justices of Peace at their Quarter Ses- 
sions, shall duly cause this Act, together with the said 
Statutes and ordinances to be openly read. 

And it is lastly Enacted, That in any Action brought 
against any Justice of Peace, Constable, or any other 
Officer or person acting or doing, or commanding to be 
acted or done any thing in pursuance of this or any 
former Law, Act or Ordinance now in force touching or 
concerning any the Offenses or matters aforesaid, the De- 
fendant in every such Action shall and may plead the Gen- 
eral Issue, and give the special matter in Evidence ; and 
upon the Non-Suit of the Plaintiff, or Verdict passing 
for the Defendant, the party Defendant shall have and 
recover his and their treble Costs, or at the election of 
such party, shall have his reparation by the Committee 
of Parliament for indempnity. And it is hereby Or- 
dained, That all persons whatsoever shall be ayding and 
assisting to all Justices of Peace, Head-Officers, Consta- 
bles, and other Officers and persons, in the execution of 
this or the said former Acts and Ordinances in and con- 
vcerning the premises. 

Passed 19 April, 1650. 

Scobeirs **Acts of Cromwell," part ii, pp. 119- 

The foregoing laws continued for a few years, 
but being inadequate to accomplish what was de- 
sired, the effort was renewed in the following 
laws, which are remarkable for their extent and 
minuteness as to details. The fall of the Com- 

During the Puritan Supremacy. 127 

monwealth within three years from the passage 
of the following enactments broke the Crom- 
wellian supremacy, and put an end to legislation 
by the Commonwealth : 

Forasmuch as God hath appointed one day in Seven 
to be kept holy unto himself, and that in order there- 
unto man should abstain from the works of his ordinary 
calling, and hath intrusted the Magistrate amongst 
others, to take care thereof within his gates ; and where- 
as it is found by daily experience, that the first day of 
the week (being the Lord's-day, and since the resurrec- 
tion of Christ to be acknowledged the Christian Sabbath) 
is frequently neglected and prophaned to the dishonor 
of Christ, and Profession of the Gospel ; therefore for 
the better observation of the said Day, and preventing 
in some measure such Prophanation thereof for the 
future, be it enacted by his Highness the Lord Protector, 
and the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England, 
Scotland and Ireland, and the Dominions thereunto be- 
longing, that whatsoever person or persons within this 
commonwealth shall be found guilty according to this act, 
of doing and committing the offenses hereafter mentioned 
upon the said Lord*s-day, that is to say, betwixt twelve 
of the clock on Saturday night and twelve of the clock 
Lord's-day night, shall be adjudged, deemed and taken 
to be guilty of prophaning the Lord's-day ; that is to say 
every person being a waggoner, carrier, butcher, higler, 
drover, or any of their servants travelling or coming by 
land or water, into his or their inn, house, or lodging 
within the times aforesaid ; and every inn keeper victual- 
ler, or ale-house keeper, who shall lodge and entertain 
any such waggoner, carrier, butcher, higler, drover or 

128 Sunday Legislation. 

their servants, coming and travelling as aforesaid ; Every 
person using or employing any Boat, Wherry, Lighter, 
Barge, Horse, Coach of Sedan or travelling or laboring 
with any of them upon the day aforesaid (except it be 
to and from some place for the service of God, or ex- 
cept in case of necessity, to be allowed by some Justice 
of the Peace) ; Every person being in any Tavern, Inn, 
Alehouse, Victualling house, Strongwater house. To- 
bacco house, Cellar or Shop, (not lodging there, nor 
upon urgent necessity, to be allowed by a Justice of 
Peace) or fetching or sending for any wine, ale or beer, 
tobacco, strongwater, or other strong liquor unneces- 
sarily, and to tipple within any other house or shop ; 
And the keepers or owners of every such houses, cellars 
or shops, keeping or causing to be kept their doors oi:- 
dinarily and usually open upon the Day aforesaid ; every 
person dancing or prophanely singing or playing upon 
musical instruments, or tippling in any such houses, cell- 
lars or shops or elsewhere upon the day aforesaid, or 
harbouring or entertaining the persons so offending ; 
Every person grinding or causing to be ground any corn 
or grain in any mill, or causing any fulling or other mills 
to work upon the day aforesaid ; And every person 
working in the washing, whiting, or drying of clothes 
thread or yarn, or causing such work to be done, upon 
the day aforesaid ; Every person setting up, burning or 
branding beet, turf or earth, upon the day aforesaid ; 
Every person gathering of rates, loans, taxations, or 
other payments upon the day aforesaid (except to the 
use of the poor in the public collections) ; Every chaund- 
ler melting, or causing to be melted, tallow or wax be- 
longing to his calling ; and every common brewer and 
baker, brewing and baking, or causing bread to be 

During the Puritan Supremacy, 129 

baked, or beer or ale to be brewed upon the day afore- 
said ; And every butcher killing any cattle, and every 
butcher, coffermonger, poulterer, herb seller, cord 
wayner, shoemaker or other persons selling, exposing or 
offering to sell any their wares or commodities, and the 
persons buying such wares or commodities, upon the day 
aforesaid ; All taylors and other tradesmen, fitting or 
going to fit, or carry any wearing apparel or other 
things ; and barbers trimming upon the day aforesaid; 
All persons keeping, using or being present upon the day 
aforesaid at any Fairs, Markets, Wakes, Revels, Wrest- 
lings, Shootings, Leaping, Bowling, Ringing of Bells for 
pleasure, or upon any other occasion (saving for calling 
people together for the public Worship) Feasts, Church 
Ale, May-Poles, Gaming, Bear-Baiting, Bull-Baiting, or 
any other Sports and Pastimes ; All persons unneces- 
sarily walking in the Church or Church-Yards, or else- 
where in the time of Public Worship ; And all persons 
vainly and profanely walking, on the day aforesaid ; 
And all persons travelling, carrying Burthens, or doing 
any worldly labour or work of their ordinary Calling on 
the day aforesaid, shall be deemed guilty of prophaning 
the Lord*s-day 

And it is enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that 
every person being of the age of fourteen years or up- 
wards, offending in any of the premises, and being con- 
victed thereof by confession, or the view of any Mayor, 
Head-Officer or Justice of the Peace, or upon the testi- 
mony of one or more witnesses upon oath, before any 
such Mayor, Head Officer or Justice of the Peace in the 
County, City, Division or place where the offense shall 
be committed (which oath the said Mayor, Justice of 
Peace or Head Officer, shall and may administer) shall 

130 Sunday Legislation. 

for every such offense whereof he shall be so convicted, 
forfeit the sum of ten shillings; Besides which for- 
feitures, all and every person and persons selling, ex- 
posing, or offering to sell any wares or commodities upon 
the day aforesaid, and in like manner duly convicted, 
shall have their wares and commodities so sold, exposed 
or offered to be sold, seized and disposed of as is by this 
act appointed. 

Provided, and it is hereby enacted and declared, that 
nothing in this act contained, shall extend to the pro- 
hibiting the dressing of meat in private families, or the 
dressing or sale of victuals in a moderate way in Inns, 
Victualling-houses, or Cooks' Shops, for the use of such 
as cannot otherwise be provided for, or to the crying or 
selling of milk before nine of the clock in the morning 
or after four of the clock in the afternoon, from the tenth 
of September, till the tenth of March ; or before eight of 
the clock in the morning, or after five of the clock in the 
afternoon, from the tenth of March till the tenth of Sep- 
tember, yearly, nor to hinder any other works of piety, 
necessity or mercy, to be allowed by a Justice of Peace. 

And whereas many navigable rivers or waters extend 
themselves into, or are the bounds of more counties than 
one, by reason whereof some doubts have been raised, 
whether the Justices of the Peace of any County lying 
on the one side of such river have any, or how far they 
may have, jurisdiction or power upon or over the same ; 
be it therefore enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that 
the Justices of Peace of any such county, or the Con- 
stable or other officers of any Parish lying on either side 
of such river, shall have power, and are hereby author- 
ized and required to put this Act in execution, for the 
apprehending and punishing of all Water-Men, Barge- 

During the Puritan Supremacy. 131 

Men or other persons whatsoever, who shall on the said 
day be found contrary to this Act, travelling, rowing or 
working in or with any boat, lighter, barge, or other 
smaller vessel on any part of such river, and the said 
boats, lighters, barges and other vessels, shall seize and 
stay, or cause to be seized and stayed, until twelve of 
the clock of the said night, and until the penalties here- 
by inflicted on such person or persons as shall be dis- 
covered to have offended therein, be duly paid and satis- 
fied to the officer or officers of that town or parish (on 
either side such river) as shall first discover and attempt 
the pursuing, seizing or staying thereof. 

And it is enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that all 
elections, swearing and taking of place of Mayors, Sher- 
iffs, Bayliffs, Aldermen, or other officer whatsoever, in 
any city, borough, town corporate, or any other place 
within this Commonwealth, that after the first day of 
August next* ensuing, by virtue or color of any Act of 
Parliament, charter, custom, prescription, or otherwise, 
should or might fall out to be upon a Lord's day ; and 
all commissions and courts, which by means of any ad- 
journment or other cause ; and all returns of writs 
which shall fall out to be upon any Lord's-day as afore- 
said, shall be, and are hereby authorized and required 
to be kept, had and done, sat upon, and executed upon 
the next day which shall ensue such Lord's-day ; and all 
Mayors, Recorders, Stewards, Town Clerk, or other 
officers or persons whatsoever, that have, or after the 
said first day of August next, shall have power and au- 
thority to elect, swear, or give any charge or oath for 
taking any such place, oath or office, or to keep any 
courts, shall and may, and are hereby authorized and 
required to make such elections, give such oath and 

132 Sunday Legislation. 

charge, and take such oaths, places or offices, or keep 
such courts as above said, upon the day next ensuing 
such Lord*s-day ; and that all customs, rents, and serv- 
ices due to lords of mannors, which by virtue of any 
custom, prescription or otherwise, are, or ought to be 
done, performed, and paid upon any Lord's-day, shall, 
after the said first day of August next, be done, per- 
formed and paid upon the day next following such 
Lord's day, and shall be as valid and effectual to all in- 
tents and purposes whatsoever, as if the same had been 
done upon the said Lord's-day ; and that all rents, sums 
of money, covenants and conditions, payable or per- 
formable upon any Lord's day, shall and may be paid 
and performed upon the day next ensuing such Lord's- 
Day, and that such payment and performance thereof, 
shall be as good and effectual in the Law, to all intents 
and purposes, to save all penalties, re-entries or for- 
feitures whatsoever, as if the same had been made and 
performed at or upon the day limited or appointed in or 
by any bond, lease, covenant, indenture, or other deed 
or agreement whatsoever, any law, usage or custom to 
the contrary hereof notwithstanding. 

And that no Fair, Market, or Proclamation of any 
Fair or Market shall be had, made or used upon any 
Lord's-day, but upon the day next ensuing, nor shall any 
person or persons serve, or caused to be served, any 
writ, process, warrant, order, judgement or decree (ex- 
cept in causes of treason, felony, breach of the peace, 
and prophanation of the Lord's-day) upon pain that 
every person and persons bodies politic and corporate, 
offending in any the particulars last mentioned, shall 
forfeit the sum of five pounds to be recovered in name 
of the Lord Protector, by bill, plaint, writ or action of 

During the Puritan Supremacy. 133 

debt in any Court of Record, or upon information or 
indictment before the Justices of the Peace in the open 
Sessions, who have hereby power to hear and determine 
the same, and to be disposed ; viz. One moyety to the 
use of His Highness, the Lord Protector, and the other 
moyety to the use of him or them that will sue or prose- 
cute for the same ; and that the service of every such 
writ, action, process, warrant order, judgment or de- 
cree shall be void to all intents and purposes what- 

And whereas many Fairs and Markets are kept upon 
Saturdays and Mundays, whereby is often occasioned the 
profanation of the Lord's-day, it is hereby enacted by 
the Authority aforesaid, that all and every person and 
persons resorting to sell or buy commodities in any such 
Fairs and Markets, shall in due time come to and depart 
from the same, and strictly observe the laws and rules of 
the Markets, that the observation of the Lord's day may 
not thereby be violated, upon pain that every person 
travelling to or from such Fairs or Markets upon the 
Lord's-day, and duly convicted as aforesaid, before one 
or more Justices of the Peace, who have hereby power 
by their own view, confession of the parties, or the oath 
of one or more witness (which oath they may administer) 
to hear and determine the same, shall forfeit for every 
offense the sum of ten shillings. 

And to the end this Act may be duly observed and 
henceforth put in execution, be it enacted by the Au- 
thority aforesaid, that all and every Mayor, Head Officers 
and Justices of Peace within their respective Counties, 
limits and jurisdictions, are hereby enjoyned and author- 
ized from time to time under their hands and seals, to 
appoint and require such Churchwardens, Overseers of 

134 Sunday Legislation. 

the Poor, Constables, and other persons within their 
several jurisdictions, as they shall think fit, to seize and 
secure such wares and commodities as shall be sold, ex- 
posed, cryed or offered to sale contrary to this Act, upon 
the day aforesaid, and to search for, discover, secure, 
apprehend and bring before them or any other Justice of 
Peace of the County or place where they shall be appre- 
hended, all and every person and persons whom they 
shall find prophaning and violating, or shall know or be 
informed to have prophaned and violated the Lord's- 
day in any of the particulars herein mentioned, or shall 
have just cause to suspect for the same ; which said 
warrant so received, the said Constables, Tythingmen, 
Churchwardens, Overseers of the Poor, or either of them 
to whom the said warrant is or shall be directed, shall 
make publication of in the said Parish-Church or Chap- 
pel fourteen days before execution of the same, and after 
such publication and end of the said fourteen days, the 
said Constables, Tythingmen or Overseers of the Poor 
so authorized, and every of them, are hereby required 
and authorized to do and perform their duties accord- 
ingly, without expecting any particular warrant for the 
same, upon such pains and penalties as are hereafter 
in this Act inflicted upon willful neglecters of their 

And for the better execution of the powers aforesaid, 
the Constables, Churchwardens or Overseer of the Poor 
so authorized, are hereby required and authorized to de- 
mand entrance into any dwelling-house or other place 
whatsoever suspected by them to harbor, entertain or 
suffer to be any person or persons prophaning the Lord's 
day; and if such entrance be either willfully delay or 
refused, all and every person or persons so delaying or 

During the Puritan Sitpremacy. 135 

refusing, being convicted thereof (as by this Act is ap- 
pointed) shall forfeit the sum of twenty shillings. 

And all Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor, 
and Constables within their several limits, are hereby 
injoyned and authorized upon their own view and 
knowledge, as well with warrant as without, to seize, and 
secure all such wares and commodities, sold, exposed or 
offered to be sold, and to apprehend, secure and stop all 
offenders against this law, with their horses and carriages 
(if any such shall be) and after apprehension, to bring 
such offenders before any Justice of Peace, to be dealt 
with according to the directions of this Act unless the 
offender shall forthwith pay the penalty forfeited by this 
Act to such officer. 

And it is enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that if 
any children or servants under the age of fourteen years, 
offending in any of the offenses within this Act men- 
tioned, and thereof convicted before any Mayor, Head- 
officer, or any one or more Justices of the Peace as 
aforesaid, the parents, guardians, masters, mistresses or 
tutors of all such children and servants shall forfeit the 
sum of one shilling for every such servant or child so 
offending and thereof convicted as aforesaid, unless such 
parent, guardian, master, mistress or tutor, shall in the 
presence of the Churchwardens, Overseers for the Poor, 
or other officer, or one of them, give or cause to be given 
unto such child or servant so offending, due correction. 

And to the end that no prophane licentious person or 
persons whatsoever may in the least measure receive 
encouragement to neglect the performance of Religious 
and Holy duties on the said day, by colour of any law 
or laws giving liberty to truly tender consciences ; be it 
enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that all and every 

136 Stcnday Legislation. 

person and persons shall (having no reasonable excuse 
for their absence, to be allowed by a Justice of Peace of 
the County where the offense shall be committed) upon 
every Lord*s-day diligently report to some Church or 
Chappel where the true worship and service of God is 
exercised, or shall be present at some other convenient 
Meeting place of Christians, not differing in matters of 
faith from the publique profession of the nation, as it is 
expressed in the humble petition and advice of the Par- 
liament to His Highness the Lord Protector, where the 
Lord's-day shall be duly sanctified, according to the true 
intent and meaning of this act, upon pain that all and 
every such person or persons so offending, shall for every 
such offense, being thereof convicted forfeit the sum of 
two shillings and six pence. 

And it is enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that 
no person being the minister or publique preacher of 
or in any Church, Chappel or publique congregation 
within this Commonwealth, and officiating and doing his 
duty therein upon any Lord's-day, or at any other times, 
shall be molested, hindered or disturbed therein by any 
person whatsoever ; and if any person or persons shall 
after the first day of August next ensuing, maliciously, 
wilfully, or of purpose molest, let, disturb, disquiet or 
otherwise trouble any such minister or publique preacher 
in the doing and performing the duty of their respective 
places, or in his going to or returning from such place, 
or make or cause to be made any publique disturbance 
in any part of the Lord*s-day in any of the places afore- 
said, it shall, and may be lawful to and for any Church- 
warden, Overseer of the Poor, or Constable of the Parish 
and place where such molestation, disturbance and dis- 
quieting shall be, and they are hereby enjoined to appre- 

During the Puritan Supremacy. 137 

hend all and every person and persons offending there- 
in ; or in case of escape before such apprehension, for 
the Churchwardens, Overseers of the Poor, or Constables 
of any other Parish or place where such offender shall 
be found, to apprehend them and every of them, as well 
without warrant as with warrant, and bring them before 
the Mayor, or any Justice of the Peace or Head-Ofhcer 
where any such person or persons shall be apprehended, 
and if such Mayor, Justice or Head Officer shall find 
cause upon his own view, confession of the party, or the 
oath of one or more sufficient witnesses (which oath he 
shall have hereby power to administer) then he shall 
commit such person to prison, there to remain without 
bail or mainprize until the next general Sessions of the 
Peace to be holden for the County, City or place where 
the offense shall be committed ; and if upon information, 
presentment or indictment, such person or persons shall 
at the General Sessions of the Peace (who have hereby 
power to hear and determine the same by confession or 
oath of two or more sufficient witnesses) be found guilty 
for maliciously, wilfully or of purpose molesting, letting, 
disturbing or otherwise troubling such minister or public 
preacher, or making any disturbance as aforesaid, every 
person so convicted, shall forfeit the sum of five pounds, 
one moyety to the use of His Highness the Lord Pro- 
tector and the other moyety to him or them that will sue 
or prosecute for the same ; or at the discretion of the 
said Justices, shall be sent to the House of Correction or 
Work-house, to be set at hard labour ; with such mod- 
erate correction, as in the discretion of the said Justices 
shall be thought fit, for some time, not exceeding six 

And it is enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that all 

138 Sunday Legislation, 

persons contriving, printing or publishing any papers, 
books or pamphlets for allowance of sports and pastimes 
upon the Lord's-day, or against the morality thereof, 
shall forfeit the sum of five pounds, or be committed to 
the House of Correction as aforesaid. 

And it is enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that in 
case any wares, or commodities shall be seized and se- 
cured for being sold, exposed, or offered to be sold, con- 
trary to this Act and the offenders therein convicted as 
aforesaid, all such wares and commodities, or the value 
thereof, at the discretion of the Mayor, Head Officer or 
Justice, shall be disposed of to the use of the poor of the 
parish where such wares shall be first seized, saving that 
it shall be in the power of such Mayor, Justice of Peace 
or Head-Officer, out of the same to reward any person 
that shall inform, or otherwise prosecute any person 
for the said offense, according to their discretion, so as 
such reward exceed not the third part of the wares and 
commodities so seized, and so as no reward be given to 
any person upon whose oath only the offender shall be 
convicted ; and all sums of money and forfeitures not 
otherwise disposed of by this Act, shall be employed for 
the use of the poor of the Parish where the several of- 
fenses shall be committed, saving onely that it shall be 
lawfull to and for any Mayor, Justice of Peace or Head 
Officer, out of the said forfeitures to reward any such 
persons that shall inform, or otherwise prosecute any 
persons for the same, according to their discretion, so as 
such reward exceed not the third part of the forfeiture, 
and so as no reward be given to any person upon whose 
oath onely the offender shall be convicted. 

Provided always, that no person or persons shall be 
impeached or molested for any offense within this Act, 

During the Puritan Supremacy. 139 

unless he or they be thereof convicted within one month 
after the offense committed. 

And it is enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that all 
Mayors, Justices of the Peace, Head Officers, the Gov- 
ernors of Inns of Court and Chancery, all masters and 
Governors of schools, and families and the governors of 
the Company of Water-men for the river of Thames 
(who for the purposes in this Act mentioned shall have 
the power of Constables upon the said river, and upon 
any keys, wharfs or banks thereof) and all other officers 
and persons herein concerned, are hereby enjoyned and 
authorized within their several limits and jurisdictions, 
to see this Act put in due and speedy execution, upon 
pain that all and every person and persons neglecting to 
do his and their respective duties, in putting this Act in 
due and speedy execution, being thereof duly convicted 
by bill, plaint, writ or action of debt, in any Court of 
Record, or upon presentment, information or indictment 
before any Justices of the Peace in their open Sessions 
(who have hereby power to hear and determine the same) 
shall forfeit the sum of five pounds ; one moyety where- 
of shall be to the use of His Highness the Lord Pro- 
tector, and the other moyety to him or them that will 
prosecute for the same. 

And it is hereby enacted by the Authority aforesaid, 
that no writ of Certiorari shall be granted or allowed for 
the removing any action, suit presentment, information, 
indictment, or any other proceedings against any person 
for offending against this law ; and that in any action 
brought against any Justice of Peace, Churchwardens, 
Overseers of the Poor, Constables, or any other officers 
or persons whatsoever, for acting or doing, or command- 
ing to be acted or done, any matter or thing in pursu- 

140 Sunday Legislation. 

ance of this Act, or for being aiding or assisting there- 
unto, the defendant in every such action shall and may 
plead the general issue, and give the special matter in 
evidence, and upon Non suit of the Plaintiff, or verdict 
passing for the Defendant, the Defendant shall have and 
recover his and their treble costs. 

And it is lastly enacted, that the Churchwardens or 
other officers of every parish within this Commonwealth, 
do at the charge of the Parish procure one or more of 
these acts to be safely kept in their respective parishes ; 
and the ministers of each Parish are hereby enjoyned in 
every year, that is to say, upon the first Lord's-day in 
March yearly, immediately before the morning sermon 
to read, or cause to be read, this present Act. 

Provided, that this act shall not extend to authorize 
or impower any constables or officer, without the special 
warrant of one or more Justice or Justices of the Peace, 
to enter, or demand entrance into any house upon pre- 
tence of execution of his or th^r office by virtue of this 
act, other than into taverns, inns, ale-houses, tobacco 
shops, victualling-houses, or tippling-houses, anything in 
this Act to the contrary notwithstajiding. 

Enacted by the Parliament commencing 17 Sept., 
1656. Scobeirs "Acts of Cromwell," pp. 

Sunday in the '' Directory/' 

The " Directory for Public Prayers, Reading 
of the Holy Scriptures," etc., which was adopted 
by the Puritan Parliament in 1644, speaks of the 
sanctification of the Lord's day, as follows: 

During the Puritan Supremacy. 141 

The Lord's day ought to be so remembered before- 
hand, as that all worldly business of our ordinary call- 
ings may be so ordered, and so timely and seasonably 
laid aside, as they may not be impediments to the due 
sanctifying of the day when it comes. 

The whole day is to be celebrated as holy to the 
Lord, both in public and in private, as being the Chris- 
tian Sabbath, to which ends it is requisite that there be 
a holy cessation or resting all the day, from all unneces- 
sary labor, and an abstaining not only from all sports and 
pastimes, but also from all worldly words and thoughts. 

That the diet on that day be so ordered as that 
neither servants be unnecessarily detained from the pub- 
lic worship of God, nor any other persons hindered from 
sanctifying that day. 

That there be private preparation of every person 
and family by prayer for themselves, for God's assistance 
of the minister, . and for a blessing upon the ministry, 
and by such other holy exercises as may further dispose 
them to a more comfortable communion with God in his 
public ordinances. 

That all the people meet so timely for public worship 
that the whole congregation may be present at the be- 
ginning, and with one heart solemnly join together in all 
parts of the public worship, and not depart till after the 

That what time is vacant, between or after the solemn 
meetings of the congregation in public, be spent in read- 
ing, meditation, repetition of services (especially by call- 
ing their families to an account of what they have heard 
and catechising of them), holy conferences, prayer for a 
blessing upon the public ordinances, singing of Psalms, 
visiting the sick, relieving the poor, and such like duties 

142 Sunday Legislation, 

of piety, charity, and mercy, accounting the Sabbath a 


ScobelFs " Acts of Cromwell," p. Z6. 

From such a Directory sprung the forms of 
Sunday observance, which prevailed in New 
England in the earlier times. 



The following is a complete list of the Sun- 
day laws enacted in Scotland between 1424 and 
1672 A. D. They cover the period of transition 
from the cultus of Romanism to that of Protestant- 
ism. Popery was legally abolished in Scotland 
in 1560, and Presbyterianism was established in 
1690. An examination of the Acts of the Kirk 
shows that the Sunday laws were but lightly 
esteemed. It shows also that the civil legislation 
was prompted by the religious sentiment, and that 
the laws embodied the theories of the leaders in 
the Church, although they were little regarded 
by the people. We add certain utterances of the 
Assembly that the reader may compare them with 
the civil laws. The text of the earlier laws has 
been modernized, without departing wholly from 
the original arrangement of the sentences. The 
original contains many words which are unintel- 
ligible to the reader of to-day : 

144 Sunday Legislation. 

The following laws are from a volume entitled 
" Laws and Acts of Parliament, etc., of Scotland." 
Edinburgh, 1681 : 

Item. That all men train themselves to be archers, 
from they be twelve years of age, and that in each ten 
pounds* worth of land there be made bow marks, and 
specially near to parish churches, wherein upon holy 
days men may come, and at the least shoot thrice about, 
and have usage of archery, and whosoever use not the 
said archery, the lord of the land shall raise of him a 
wedder (a sheep) ; and if the lord raise not the said 
pain, the King's sheriff or his ministers shall raise it to 
the King. 

" First Parliament of King James I,'* 1424 a. d., 
law 18. 

Item. Because of keeping of holy days and divine 
service, which are greatly broken, and namely, in the 
collection of customs and annual rents, in-casting and 
out-casting of tenants, which cause great dissension, and 
causes ofttimes great gatherings and discord upon sol- 
emn days of Whit-Sunday and Martin-mas ; for the es- 
chewing of the which, it is thought expedient in this 
present Parliament, that the said collecting of customs 
and annual rents, in-casting and out-casting of tenants, 
be deferred to the third day after Whit-Sunday and 
Martin-mas, without prejudice of any persons, and in 
likewise there be no fairs holden on holy days, but on 
the morning after. 

'^ Fifth Parliament of King James III," 1469 a. d., 
chap. XXXV. 

Item. It is enacted and ordained that there be no 
markets nor fairs holden upon holy days, nor yet within 

Early Sunday Laws of Scotland. 145 

churches, nor church-yards, upon holy days, nor other 
days, upon the pain of forfeiture of the goods. 

" Sixth Parliament of King James IV,'' 1503 
A. D., chap. Ixxxiii. 

Item. For inasmuch as it is enacted and ordained 
by a good and godly Act, made in the days of King 
James IV, our Sovereign Lord's grandfather, of worthy 
memory, that there be no markets nor fairs holden upon 
holy days, nor yet within churches or church-yards upon 
holy days or other days, under pain of forfeiting of the 
goods ; which Act our Sovereign Lord and his three es- 
tates ratifies and approves and ordains the same to have 
effect and execution in time coming. And seeing that 
the Sabbath day is now commonly violated and broken, 
as well within burghs as in the country, to the great dis- 
honor of God, by holding and keeping of the said mar- 
kets and fairs on Sabbath days, using of hand-labor, and 
working thereon, as on the remaining days of the week, 
and by gaming and playing, passing to taverns and ale- 
houses, and the wilfull remaining from their parish 
church in time of sermon or prayers on the Sabbath ; 
Therefore^ his Majesty, and his three estates, in this 
present Parliament enact and ordain, that there be no 
markets nor fairs holden upon the Sabbath day, nor yet 
within churches or church-yards, that day or any other 
day, under the pain of forfeiture of the goods to the use 
of the poor within the oarish. . And likewise, that no 
hand-laboring, nor working be used on the Sabbath day, 
nor no gaming and playing, passing to taverns and ale- 
houses, or selling of meat or drink, or wilfull remaining 
from their parish church in the times of sermon or prayers 
on the Sabbath day be used, under the pains following : 

146 Sunday Legislation. 

that is to say, of every person, for the hand- laboring and 
working, commonly used by the poorest sort, ten shill- 
ings, and for gaming, playing, passing to taverns and 
ale-houses, selling of meat and drink, and wilfull re- 
maining from their parish church in time of sermon or 
prayers on the Sabbath day, of every person twenty 
shillings, to be applied to the help and relief of the poor 
of the parish. And in case of the refusal, or inability of 
any person offending in the premises, to pay the said 
pains respectively, presently, and promptly, upon their 
apprehension or conviction, after lawful trial, he or she 
shall be put and holden in the stocks, or such other en- 
gine devised for public punishment, for the space of 
twenty- four hours. And for execution hereof, the King's 
Majesty's commission of Justice shall be granted to 
some person in every parish, best fitted and able to per- 
form the same, at the request of the minister. 

'* Sixth Parliament of King James VI,*' 1579 a. d., 
chap. Ixx. 

Our Sovereign Lord and estates of this present Par- 
liament decree and declare that it shall be allowed to all 
towns and parishes to landward, where markets of be- 
fore were kept and holden upon the Sabbath day (being 
now prohibited by the law of God, and the laws of this 
Realm, so to continue), to elect and choose any other 
day in the week, for holding the said markets, within the 
said towns, and at landward churches, where they were 
accustomed to have markets of before (not being the 
market-day of the next burgh) ; and there to buy and 
sell food, and such other commodities as were used upon 
the Sabbath day, without stop or impediment ; always 
without prejudice of the right and liberty of his High- 

Early Sunday Laws of Scotland. 147 

ness's free boroughs. And that letters be directed there- 
upon, if need be, in form as aforesaid. 

*' Twelfth Parliament of King James VI,** 1592 
A. D., chap, cxxii. 

Our Sovereign Lord, with the advice of the estates 
of this present Parliament, ratifies and approves the Acts 
made concerning the discharging of fairs and markets, 
holden on the Sabbath days; and because the same 
Acts, in many respects, are in no way observed in land- 
ward ; Therefore^ his Majesty, with the advice afore- 
said, expressly commands and charges all Sheriffs, Stew- 
ards, Bailies, Provosts, and Bailies of boroughs, and all 
others whom it shall please every particular Presbytery 
to nominate, within their own bounds, to that effect, to 
discharge, remove, and put away all fairs and markets, 
holden on Sabbath days, as they will answer to his 
Majesty; and in case they be found negligent, ordains 
letters of horning upon a simple charge of ten days to 
be directed, to charge them thereto, at the instance of 
the said Presbytery. - 

" Thirteenth Parliament of James VI," 1593 a. d., 
chap. clix. 

Our Sovereign Lord, understanding that by an act 
and ordinance made concerning observance of the Sab- 
bath day, within this realm, the market-day of the 
burgh of Forfare, being the head burgh of the Shire, 
which was Sunday, is taken from them ; and his High- 
ness not willing that they in any way should be preju- 
diced hereby ; Therefore, his Highness, with advice of 
the estates of this present Parliament, alters and changes 
their said market-day from Sunday to Friday, and wills 
the same Friday weekly to be their market-day to them 

148 Sunday Legislation. 

in all times hereafter ; and the same to stand with the 
like privileges and freedom as the Sunday did of before. 
^* Thirteenth Parliament of James VI," 1593 
A. D., chap, cxcii. 

Item. Our Sovereign Lord and estates of this pres- 
ent Parliament ratify and approve the Acts made by his 
Highness of before, concerning the discharging of 
holding of markets upon the Sabbath day, with this ad- 
dition : That whosoever profanes the Sabbath day by 
selling, or presenting, or offering to be sold upon the 
said day, any goods or gear, or whatsoever merchan- 
dise by themselves or any other in their name, and is 
three several times lawfully convicted thereof, either 
before the provost and bailies within the burgh, where 
the profanation shall happen to be committed, or before 
certain commissioners and justices in every Presbytery, 
to be appointed by the King's Majesty, with advice of 
his privy council, their whole goods and gear shall be 
forfeited to his Majesty's use, and their persons punished 
at the will of his Majesty, with advice of his secret 

*' Fourteenth Parliament of James VI," 1594 a. d., 
chap, cxcviii. 

The King's Majesty, considering how much it con- 
cerns the honor of God that the Sabbath day be duly 
observed, and all abuses thereof restrained, and that 
notwithstanding of several Acts of Parliament, made in 
that behalf, particularly the third Act of the Sixth Par- 
liament of King James VI, of blessed memory, the said 
day has been much profaned by salmon-fishing, running 
of salt-pans, mills, and kilns, hiring of shearers, and 
using of merchandise on that day, and other ways. 

Early Sunday Laws of Scotland. 149 

Therefore, our Sovereign Lord, with advice and consent 
of his estates of Parliament, ratifies and approves all 
former Acts of Parliament, made for observation of the 
Sabbath day, and against the breakers thereof ; and by 
these presents inhibits and discharges all salmon-fishing, 
running of salt-pans, mills, and kilns, all hiring of 
shearers, carrying of loads, keeping of markets, or using 
any sorts of merchandise on the said day, and all other 
profanation thereof whatsoever, under the pains and 
penalties following, viz. : The sum of twenty pounds 
Scots for the running of each salt-pan, mill, or kiln 
on the said day, to be paid by the heritors and pos- 
sessors thereof, and the sum of ten pounds for each 
shearer and fisher of salmon, on the said day, the one 
half thereof to be paid by the hirers and conductors, 
and the other half by the persons hired ; and the said 
sum of ten pounds for every other profanation of the 
said day; and which fines and penalties are to be up- 
lifted and disposed of, in manner contained in the Act 
and instructions concerning the justices of peace ; and 
if the party offending be not able to pay the penalties 
aforesaid, then to be exemplarily punished in his body, 
according to the merit of his fault. 

"The First Parliament of Charles 11/' 1661 a. d., 
chap, xviii. 

In 1870 the Dundee High Court decided that 
the foregoing law of 1661 was still in force. 

Our Sovereign Lord considering that there is much 
occasion given for profanation of the Lord's day in the 
royal burghs, by keeping their weekly markets on Monday 
and Saturday, and that the same may be as conveniently 

150 Sunday Leislation. 

kept on other days of the week, doth therefore, with ad- 
vice and consent of his estates in Parliament, inhibit and 
discharge all the royal burghs from keeping any market 
in time coming, upon Monday or Saturday, under the 
pain of one hundred marks, to be paid by each of the 
Royal Burghs for every contravention respective ; and 
allows them to change and keep their markets on other 
days of the week as they have done formerly, since the 
year one thousand six hundred and forty-four, and that 
they make timely intimation of the change to the next 
adjacent burghs. It being always declared that this Act 
is not to be extended against fleshers in royal burghs, 
who may keep market of fleshes in their respective 
burghs upon these days, this Act notwithstanding. 

''The Third Session of the First Parliament of 
Charles II,'' 1663 a. d., chap. xix. 

At the second session of the Second Parlia- 
ment of Charles II, on the nth of September, 
1672, a general law was passed against ''all viola- 
tions of the law of God, and the laws of this king- 
dom." This law included " drunkenness, unclean- 
ness, profanation of the Lord's day, mocking or 
the reproaching of religion and the exercises 
thereof.'' It orders the execution of all previous 
acts against these different forms of wrong-doing. 
It gives additional power to the officers of the 
Church for the punishment of offenders. It also 
makes provision for imposing, collecting, and dis- 
tributing heavy fines ; it is, in a word, a general re- 
vival of all civil laws against the violators of the 
ten commandments. He who is curious to analyze 

Early Sunday Laws of Scotland. 151 

the laws just given will be able to note the prog- 
ress from the early Romish ideas of Sunday, as 
a holiday, wherein religious services and sports 
were combined by law, to the excessive Puritan 
idea, wherein Sunday was rigidly observed after 
the strictest Jewish interpretation of the Fourth 
Commandment. Covering, as they do, a period of 
about two hundred and fifty years, these laws are 
at once a commentary, and a history of the devel- 
opment of the Sabbatic ideas of the Scotch people. 
In modern times the Sunday has been more highly 
respected in Scotland than in England, and the 
moral influence of the Church in its favor has been 
stronger ; but the observance of the day has been 
attended with greater formality and superstition. 
In common with the rest of Europe, this tendency 
is constantly declining, and the Scotch Sunday of 
other days is already among the things of the 
past. The following are the acts of the Assem- 
bly of the Kirk, referred to at the opening of this 

At a session of the Assembly, held August 12, 
1590 A. D., the following record was made: 

According to the direction of the Kirk, for restrain- 
ing of the merchants, and profanation of the Sabbath 
day, within Edinburgh, by running of their mills, receiv- 
ing of loads within their gates, selling of flour and pro- 
duce, and such other violation of the said day ; the Bail- 
ies of the said Burgh having direction from the Council, 
let it be declared that the mind of the Council is, not- 
withstanding whatsoever difficulties, to do what may lie 

152 Sunday Legislation. 

in their power for removing thereof, that all the rest of 
the Burghs shall take no slander by them. 

" Acts and Proceedings of the Kirk of Scotland," 
vol. ii, pp. 776, 777, quarto, Edinburgh, 1840. 

The General Assembly, in 1602 A. D., put forth 
the following : 

The Assembly, considering that the convocations of 
the people, especially on the Sabbath day, are very rare 
in many places, especially by distraction of labor, not 
only in harvest and seed time, but also every Sabbath, by 
fishing, both of white fish and of salmon fishing, and by 
^he running of mills ; the Assembly puts an end to, and 
prohibits, all such labor of fishing, white fish as well, as 
salmon, and the running of mills of all sorts, upon the 
Sabbath day, under pain of incurring the censure of/the 
Kirk ; and it ordains the commissioners of this present 
Assembly to signify the same to his Majesty, and to de- 
sire that a pecuniary penalty may be enjoined upon 

those who disregard this present Act. 

Ibid,^ vol. iii, p. 996, Edinburgh, 1845. 

Scotch legislation did not stop with Sunday. 

In 1693 and 1695 Parliament passed severe laws 

enforcing the observance of legal fast-days. The 

penalties attached were greater than those for 

violation of Sunday. These laws are still in force. 

(See '' Laws and Regulations of the Church of 

Scotland, from 1560 to 1850 A. D.,'* p. 336, Aber- 
deen, 1853.) 

The formal union of Scotland and England 

took place in 1707, and there is no demand for 

Sunday Law in Holland. 153 

tracing the Sunday legislation of the two coun- 
tries separately, further than is done in this 

Sunday Law in Holland. 

We are indebted to the kindness of the trans- 
lator, named below for the ability to place the Sunday law of Holland before our read- 
ers. -Since this translation was made, an agitation 
has arisen concerning the revision of the follow- 
ing law which has been on the statutes — mainly a 
*'dead letter" — for more than seventy years: 

(Translated from the Dutch, by Rev. G. Velthuysen, 
Haarlem, Holland.) 

A Copy of the Law, containing precepts for the cele- 
bration of the days of the pubHc Christian Religions, 
enacted, March i, 1815. No. 18. 

We William, by the grace of God, King of the Neth- 
erlands, etc., etc., etc. 

To all who will read and hear this. Salute ! 

Whereas, we have taken into consideration the neces- 
sity to assure, after the example of our pious forefathers, 
who always put the highest value on it — the dutiful ob- 
servation of the Lord's day, and of other days, conse- 
crated to the public Christian worship, by means that 
are unanimous and of general effect through the whole 
extent of the United Netherlands ; 

So it is, that we, having heard the Council of State, 
and in common deliberation with the States General of 
these countries, did approve and understand, as we do 
approve and understand by the following ; 

154 Sunday Legislation. 

I. That on Sunday and such religious feast-days, as 
by the communities of the Christian faith of those coun- 
tries generally are acknowledged and celebrated, not 
only all kind of business or trade, such as divine service 
might be disturbed by, shall be prohibited, but that gen- 
erally no public labor will be tolerated, save in case of 
necessity ; in which case the local magistrate has to give 
a written consent. 

II. That on these days it will be not allowed to ex- 
pose for sale or to sell in markets, streets, or public 
squares, any merchandises, whatever, except small eat- 
ing-wares; and that merchants and storekeepers are 
neither permitted to exhibit these wares, nor to sell with 
open doors. 

III. That during the time destined for public serv- 
ice, the doors of the inns and other places where drinks 
are sold, as far as those places are lying within the com- 
pass of the buildings, are to be closed ; and that also 
during the same time it will be not allowed to play at 
kolf, to toss the ball, or such kind of plays. 

IV. That on the Sundays and general feast-days no 
public divertisements, such as theatres, public balls, 
concerts, or horse-races, will be tolerated ; however, to 
the local government it will be left to make exception, 
but never before the full close of all divine services. 

V. That the local police has to take care, in order to 
prevent or to cause to be ceased all disturbing move- 
ment and noise in the neighborhood of the buildings 
destined for public worship ; and generally all that would 
disturb divine service. 

VI. That the transgressors against the decrees of 
this resolution shall be punished, in proportion to per- 
sons and circumstances, by a fine of not more than 

Sunday in Ireland. 155 

twenty-five guilder or, for the transgressors who are un- 
able to pay this fine, by an huprisonment of not longer 
than three days, 

VII. That in case of a second transgression the fine 
or the imprisonment shall be doubled, and further, all 
the goods that have been laid down or exhibited for 
sale will be confiscated, and the inns and other public 
localities must be closed during a month. 

And that by these general ordinances all provincial 
or local regulations or institutions are to be considered 
as abolished. 

Ordering and commanding that this law will be in- 
serted in the Paper of State, and that a sufficient number 
of copies must be printed and — according to Art. 56th 
of the Fundamental Law — sent for execution to the dif- 
ferent Provinces or Districts, under obligation to make 
them public everywhere and to stick them on, as well as 
to cause them to be proclaimed in the pulpits of the dif- 
ferent Christian communities. 

Ordering and commanding further that our minis- 
terial departments and other authorities, justices and 
officers, whom it concerns, have to maintain the strict 
observance, without any connivance or dissimulation. 

Given at The Hague, March ist of the year 1815, the 
second of Our Reign. 

[Signed] William. 

By order of His Royal Highness. 
[Signed] A. K. Falck. 

Sunday in Ireland. 

Ireland had no civil Sunday laws previous to 
its union with England, But sun-worship and 

156 Sunday Legislation. 

the Sunday festival were both well known to the 
paganism of ancient Ireland. This fact is sig- 
nificant, showing as it does the character of the 
influences which corrupted early Christianity, and 
exalted the pagan festival of the sun over the 
Sabbath of Jehovah. Ireland was colonized from 
Asia, probably by way of Phcenecia. This brought 
the Oriental sun-worship cult westward, and 
caused it to appear in the earliest history of Ire- 
land. D^Alton says : 

The cromlechs, the upright pillars, the circular tem- 
ples of stone, the round towers, the sacred fire, the holy 
groves, the venerated fountains, which were dedicated 
to sun-worship, still remain. 

** Essay on the History, Religion, Learning, etc., 
of Ireland,'' by John D'Alton, Esq., M. R. I. 
A., p. 87; also, pp. 79-95. Dublin, 1830. See 
also '^ Diodorus Siculus," tome i, pp. 158, 159. 

Sun-worship continued until the time of St. 
Patrick, who, in his '' Confessions," condemns it 
in the following words. Speaking of the time 
when the true worshipers of Christ should be 
resurrected, he says : 

But all who adore him (the sun) shall unhappily fall 
into eternal punishment. 

Ware's '^ History and Antiquities of Ireland," 
vol. ii, p. 122, Dublin, 1764. 

The ancient pagan week in Ireland was identi- 
cal, in the order and names of the days, with the 

Sunday in Ireland. 157 

week as now existing, and as known throughout 
history and the world. (See Ware, as above, p. 


The ancient Caledonians, neighbors and kin- 
dred to the Irish, were sun-worshipers, and many 
remnants of the sun-worship cult are found in 
the Scotch and Irish superstitions of the present 
time. The festival of Bal-tien day, celebrated 
on the 1st of March, in honor of the return- 
ing summer sun, is a notable example of this. 
The name itself is from the Oriental Baal — the 
sun-god. There are traces of the custom of hu- 
man sacrifices by fire in the sports of the modern 
boys of Scotland on that day. (See Wakefield's 
'' Ireland," vol. ii, p. 748, note, London, 18 12). 

The laws of the ancient pagan kings of Ire- 
land were collected 438-441 a. d., under the title 
of Senchus Mor, They contain no legislation con- 
cerning Sunday, but certain facts appear which 
show that the Sunday was a prominent festival 
before the introduction of Christianity. There 
was a system of fosterage by which certain youths 
were trained for service in the state for possible 
or actual chieftainship. A general {Cain) law re- 
quired that such wards of the state should have 
better clothing and better food on Sundays than 
on other days. On ordinary days they had milk 
with their bread, on Sunday, butter. Grades of 
clothing, each better than the other, were ordered 
for week days, Sundays, and '' the festival." This 
provision was for these *' foster children " and for 

158 Sunday Legislation. 

the sons of chiefs of certain ranks. It is difficult 
to decide Avhat is meant by '' the festival." It was 
evidently a higher day than the Sunday of each 
week, probably it was the May-day festival of 
Bal-tien in honor of the return of the summer sun. 
The jolly festival character of the pagan Sun- 
day in Ireland is further shown by the following 
schedule of the duties of an Irish king for the 
week : 

Sunday, for drinking ale, for he is not a lawful chief 
who does not distribute ale on Sunday. 

Monday, for judgment, for the adjusting of the 

Tuesday, at chess. 

Wednesday, seeing greyhounds coursing. 

Thursday, at marriage duties. 

Friday, at horse-racing. 

Saturday, at giving judgment. 

" Ancient Laws of Ireland,*' vol. iv, p. 335, Lon- 
don, 1869. For other facts referred to 
above, see vol. ii, pp. 149 and 177, and vol. 
iii, p. 4i 

English law was first introduced in Ireland by 
Henry II, in the twelfth century, but it was little 
obeyed until after Henry VIII, in the sixteenth 
century. The old pagan {Brehon) laws obtained, 
in many instances, until after the final overthrow 
of the chiefs, under Elizabeth, and until Ireland 
was taken under the direct control of England, 
under James I. Since that time the Sunday laws 
of Ireland and England are essentially the same. 

Sunday in Wales. 159 

Sunday in Wales. 

There is no trace of direct Sunday legislation 
in Wales previous to its union with England in 
1282 A. D. The history of Welsh jurisprudence 
previous to that time, shows that both Sunday and 
Monday were dies non. This probably arose from 
the veneration of the sun and moon. So far as 
one can learn from the history of Welsh legisla- 
tion, these days stood upon the same footing. 
References showing this fact may be found in a 
folio volume entitled '* Ancient Laws of Wales,'* 
which was compiled somewhere between 1614 
and 1643 A. D., pp.422, 452, 453, 572, and 719, Lon- 
don, 1 841. 




About the beginning of the seventeenth cent- 
ury, certain dissenters fled from England to Hol- 
land. Failing to succeed in propagating their 
views among the Hollanders, and finding their 
own purity on the decline, they determined to seek 
a home in the New World. They reached America 
in 1620, and settled at New Plymouth. In 1629 a 
large colony from England joined them. Thus 
came the birth of New England, and the establish- 
ment of Puritanism in America. The civil govern- 
ment which these men adopted was the direct 
outgrowth of their religion. The ** theocracy '* 
of the Hebrews furnished the model after which 
is was patterned. The result was more than a 
union of Church and State ; it was, rather, a State 
in the Church. Hence, the civil laws of those 
times were the practical expression of orthodox 
theology ; and the execution of those laws was an 
index to the vitality and power of the prevailing 
religion. It is suited to the purposes of this chap- 

In America — Colonial Period, i6i 

ter to collect the laws of the early colonists con- 
cerning Sunday, and, as far as may be necessary, 
to sketch the history of their execution. This 
will be done in the following order : 

1. The laws of the Plymouth Colony up to the 
time of its union with Massachusetts ; then the 
laws of Massachusetts as a colony and a province. 

2. The laws of the New Haven and Connecticut 
colonies in a similar order. 

There were no direct statute laws concerning 
the observance of Sunday during the earlier years 
of the Plymouth Colony. There was, however, a 
rigid ^* common law/' founded on the laws of the 
Jewish theocracy. In 1650, June loth, the gen- 
eral court enacted the following : 

Further be it enacted, that whosoever shall profane 
the Lord's day by doing any servile work, or any such 
like abuses, shall forfeit for every such default ten shil- 
lings, or be whipped. 

In 165 1, June 6th : 

It is enacted by the court that whatsoever person or 
persons shall neglect the frequenting the public worship 
of God that is according to God, in the places where 
they live, or do assemble themselves upon any pretense 
whatsoever, contrary to God and the allowance of the 
government, tending to the subversion of religion and 
churches, or palpable profanation of God's holy ordi- 
nances, being duly convicted, viz., every one that is a 
master or dame of a family, or any other person at their 
own disposing, to pay ten shillings for every such default. 
'* Plymouth Colony Records," vol. xi, pp. 57, 58. 

1 62 Sunday Legislation. 

It is also 

Enacted by the court, that if any in any lazy, sloth- 
ful or profane way doth neglect to come to the public 
worship of God, shall forfeit for every such default ten 
shillings, or be publicly whipped. 

" Plymouth Colony Records," vol. xi, p. 58. 

In 1658, we have the follov^ing: 

Whereas, complaint is made of great abuses in sun- 
dry places of this government of profaning the Lord's 
day by travelers, both horse and foot, by bearing of 
burdens, carrying of packs, etc., upon the Lord's day, to 
the great offense of the godly, well-affected amongst us : 
It is therefore enacted by the court, and the authority 
thereof, that if any person or persons shall be found 
transgressing in any of the precincts of any township 
within this government, he or they shall be forthwith ap- 
prehended by the constable of such town, and fined 
twenty shillings to the colony's use, or else sit in the 
stocks four hours, except they can give a sufficient rea- 
son for their so doing ; and they that transgress in any 
of the above said particulars, shall only be apprehended 
^on the Lord's day; and on the second day following 
shall either pay their fine, or sit in the stocks as afore- 

** Plymouth Colony Records," vol. xi, p. 100. 

The general laws concerning attendance on 
public worship passed in 165 1, were repealed in 
1659, and the following enacted, and repeated in 

In America — Colonial Period. 163 

It is enacted by the court, that whatsoever person or 
persons shall frequently absent or neglect, upon the 
Lord's day, the public worship of God that is approved 
of by this government, shall forfeit for every such default 
ten shillings. 

'* Plymouth Colony Records," vol. xi, p. 122. 

The foUov^ing ''Sunday Excise Law " v^as en- 
acted in 1662 : 

Whereas, complaint is made of some ordinary keep- 
ers, in this jurisdiction, that they do allow persons to 
stay on the Lord's days drinking in their houses in the 
interims of times between the exercises, especially young 
persons and such as stand not in need thereof : It is en- 
acted by the court and the authority thereof, that no 
ordinary keeper in this government, shall draw any wine 
or liquor on the Lord's day, for any, except in case of 
necessity, for the relief of those that are sick, or faint, or 
the like, for their refreshing, on the penalty of paying a 
fine of ten shillings for every default. 

" Plymouth Colony Records," vol. xi, p. 137, 

In 1662 the court urges the strict enforcement 
of the laws against traveling and unlawful meet- 
ings on Sunday. ('' Plymouth Colony Records,*' 
vol. xi, p. 140.) 

In 1682 the general court, sitting at Plymouth, 
enacted the following : 

To prevent profanation of the Lord's day by for- 
eigners, or any others, unnecessarily traveling through 
our towns on that day : It is enacted by the court, that 
a fit man in each town be chosen, unto whom, whomso- 

164 Sunday Legislation. 

ever hath necessity of travel on the Lord's day in case 
of danger of death or such necessitous occasions, shall 
repair, and nriaking out such occasions satisfyingly to 
him, shall receive a ticket from him to pass on about 
such like occasions, which if the traveler attend not unto 
it shall be lawful for the constable or any man that meets 
him, to take him up, and stop him until he be brought 
before authority, or pay his fine for such transgression, 
as by law in that case is provided. And if it after shall 
appear that his plea was false, then may he be appre- 
hended at another time, and made to pay his fine as 


"Plymouth Colony Records," vol. xi, p. 258. 

The same court protected other days besides 
Sunday, as follows : 

It is enacted that none shall presume to attend ser- 
vile work or labor or attend any sports on such days as 
are or shall be appointed by the court for humiliation 
by fasting and prayer, or for public thanksgiving, on 
penalty of five shillings. 

"Plymouth Colony Records,*' vol. xi, p. 

In 1674 : 

It is enacted by the court, that as to the restraining 
of abuses in '' ordinaries," that no ordinary keeper shall 
sell or give any kind of drink to inhabitants of the town 
upon the Lord's day ; and also that all ordinary keepers 
be required to clear their houses of all town dwellers and 
strangers that are there (on a drinking account), except 
such as lodge in the house, by the shutting in of the day- 

In America — Colonial Period. 165 

light, upon the forfeiture of five shillings, the one half to 
the informer, and the other half to the town's use. 

" Plymouth Colony Records," vol. xi, p. 236. 

In the year 1665, the following law was enacted 
against '' Sleeping in Church '* : 

Whereas, complaint is made unto the court, of great 
abus3 in sundry towns of this jurisdiction, by persons 
there behaving themselves profanely, by being without 
doors at the meeting house on the Lord's days in time of 
exercise, and there misdemeaning themselves by jesting, 
sleeping, or the like : It is enacted by the court and 
hereby ordered that the constables of each township of 
this jurisdiction shall, in their respective towns, take 
special notice of such persons, and to admonish them ; 
and if, notwithstanding, they shall persist on in such 
practices, that he shall set them in the stocks, and in 
case this will not reclaim them, that they return their 
names to the court. 

" Plymouth Colony Records," vol. xi, p. 214. 

Four years later, July, 1669, this law was 
further added to as follows : 

It is enacted by the court, that the constable or his 
deputy in each respective town of this government, shall 
diligently look after such as sleep or play about the 
meeting-house in times of the public worship of God on 
the Lord's day, and take notice of their names, and re- 
turn such of them to the court who do not, after warn- 
ing given to them, reform. 

As also that unnecessary violent riding on the Lord's 

1 66 Sunday Legislation. 

day ; the persons that so offend, their names to be re- 
turned to the next court after the said offense. 

It is enacted by the court, that any person or persons 
that shall be found smoking of tobacco on the Lord's 
day, going to or coming from the meetings, within two 
miles of the meeting house, shall pay twelve pence for 
every such default to the colony's use. 

** Plymouth Colony Records," vol. xi, pp. 224, 225. 

In 1668 the matter of attendance on public 
worship was again taken up, and the following law 
enacted : 

Whereas, the court takes notice of great neglect of 
frequenting the public worship of God upon the Lord's 
day ; it is enacted by the court and the authority there- 
of that the selectmen in each township of this govern- 
ment shall take notice of such in their townships as neg- 
lect, through profaneness and slothfulness, to come to 
the public worship of God, and shall require an account 
of them ; and if they give them not satisfaction, that then 
they return their names to the court. 

*^ Plymouth Colony Records," vol. xi, pp. 217, 218. 

This not having the desired effect, the follow- 
ing was enacted in June, 1670: 

For the further prevention of the profanation of the 
Lord's day, it is enacted by the court and the authority 
thereof, that the selectmen of the several towns of this 
jurisdiction, or any one of them, may, or shall, as there 
be occasion, take with him the constable or his deputy, 
and repair to any house or place where they may suspect 
that any slothfuUy do lurk at home, or get together in 

In America — Colonial Period, 167 

companies, to neglect the public worship of God, or pro- 
fane the Lord's day ; and, finding any such disorder, 
shall return the names of the persons to the next court, 
and give notice also of any particular miscarriage that 
they have taken notice of, that it may be inquired into. 
" Plymouth Colony Records," vol. xi, p. 228. 

In 1652, and again in 1656, laws were passed 
prohibiting Indians from hunting, working, or 
playing on Sunday, within the limits of the colo- 
ny. C' Plymouth Colony Records,'' vol. xi, pp. 
60, 184.) 

In 1 69 1 Plymouth became united to Massa- 
chusetts under a new charter, from which time 
their histories are identical. 

Massachusetts Bay Colony. 

There were no formal statutes concerning 
Sunday by the local authorities of this colony dur- 
ing the first years of its existence. The '' first gen- 
eral letter '' from the governor and deputy of the 
'* Company " in England, dated April 17, 1629, con- 
tained the following instruction : 

And to the end the Sabbath may be celebrated in a 
religious manner, we appoint that all that inhabit the 
plantation, both for the general and particular employ- 
ments, may surcease their labor every Saturday through- 
out the year, at three of the clock in the afternoon, and 
that they spend the rest of that day in catechising, and 

1 68 Sunday Legislation, 

preparations for the Sabbath, as the ministers shall di- 

'^ Records of Massachusetts Bay," vol. i, p. 395. 

This instruction and the '' common law,*' like 
that of the Plymouth Colony, formed the basis of 
the earliest customs. In the formation of the 
government, upon those points wherein the civil 
authorities were in doubt concerning any ques- 
tion, the matter was referred to the '' elders.'* 
Among the " Answers of the reverend elders to 
certain questions propounded to them," Novem- 
ber 13, 1644, is the following: 

The striking of a neighbor may be punished with 
some pecuniary mulct, when the striking of a father 
may be punished with death. So any sin committed 
with an high hand, as the gathering of sticks on the 
Sabbath-day, may be punished with death, when a lesser 
punishment might serve for gathering sticks privily, and 
in some need. 

" Records of Massachusetts Bay," vol. ii, p. 93. 

Concerning this point, Hutchinson, the histo- 
rian, says : 

In the first draught of the laws by Mr. Cotton, which 
I have seen corrected with Mr. Winthrop*s hand, diverse 
other offenses were made capital, viz., profaning the 
Lord's day in a careless or scornful neglect or contempt 
thereof. (Numbers 15 : 30-36.) 

** History of Massachusetts," vol. i, p. 390. 

On the 4th of November, 1646, the general 
court decreed : 

In America — Colonial Period. 169 

That wheresoever the ministry of the Word is estab- 
lished, according to the order of the gospel, throughout 
this jurisdiction, every person shall duly resort and at- 
tend thereunto, respectively, upon the Lord's days and 
upon such public fast days and days of thanksgiving as 
are to be generally held by the appointment of author- 
ity. And if any person within this jurisdiction shall, 
without just and necessary cause, withdraw himself 
from hearing the public ministry of the Word, after due 
means of conviction used, he shall forfeit for his absence 
from every such public meeting five shillings. 

" Records of Massachusetts Bay,'* vol. ii, p. 178. 

Some questions have arisen concerning the 
meaning of the passage '' after due conviction 
used," in the above law^, it w^as explained May 10, 
1649, as meaning ''legal conviction." A little 
later, a general court, sitting at Boston, on the 
30th of August, 1653, enacted the following: 

Upon information of sundry abuses and misdemean- 
ors committed by several persons on the Lord's day, 
not only by children playing in the streets and other 
places, but by youths, maids and other persons, both 
strangers and others, uncivilly walking the streets and 
fields, traveling from town to town, going on shipboard, 
frequenting common houses and other places to drink, 
sport, and otherwise to misspend that precious time, 
which things tend much to the dishonor of God, the re- 
proach of religion, and the profanation of his holy 
Sabbath, the sanctification whereof is sometimes put for 
all duties immediately respecting the service of God, 
contained in the first table : It is therefore ordered by 
this court and the authority, that no children, youths. 

170 Sunday Legislation. 

maids, or other persons, shall transgress in the like 
kind, on penalty of being reputed great provokers of 
the high displeasure of Almighty God, and further in- 
curring the penalties hereafter expressed, namely, that 
the parents and governors of all children above seven 
years old, (not that we approve of younger children in 
evil,) for the first offense in that kind, upon due proof 
before any magistrate, own commissioner, or selectman 
of the town where such offense shall be committed, shall 
be admonished ; for a second offense, upon due proof, 
as aforesaid, shall pay a fine of five shillings ; for a 
third offense, upon due proof, as aforesaid, ten shil- 
lings ; and if they shall again offend in this kind, they 
shall be presented to the county courts, who shall aug- 
ment punishment, according to the merit of the fact. 
And for all youths and maids, above fourteen years of 
age, and all elder persons whatsoever that shall offend 
and be convicted as aforesaid, either for playing, un- 
civilly walking, drinking, traveling from town to town, 
going on shipboard, sporting or any way misspending 
that precious time, shall, for the first offense, be admon- 
ished, upon due proof, as aforesaid ; for a second 
offense, shall pay as a fine, five shillings ; and for a third 
^offense, ten shillings ; and if any shall farther offend 
that way, they shall be presented to the next county 
court, who shall augment punishment according to the 
nature of the offense ; and if any be unable or unwilling 
to pay the aforesaid fines, they shall be whipped by the 
constable not exceeding five stripes for ten shillings fine ; 
and this to be understood of such offenses as shall be 
committed during the daylight of the Lord's day. 

" Records of Massachusetts Bay,'* vol. iii, pp. 

In America — Colonial Period. 171 

In volume iv another record of this action may 
be found with this addition : 

This law is to be transcribed by the constable of 
each town, and posted upon the meeting-house door, 
there to remain the space of one month, at least. 

"Records of Massachusetts Bay,*'* vol. iv, p. 

On the 1 8th of October of the following year, 
1654, a general court, sitting at Boston, enacted 

Whereas, experience gives us cause to complain of 
much disorder in time of public ordinances, in the meet- 
inghouses in several congregations in this jurisdiction, 
through the unreverent carriage and behavior of diverse 
young persons, and others, notwithstanding the best 
means that have been hitherto used in the said assem- 
blies, for the reformation thereof, it is therefore ordered 
by this court and the authority thereof, that it shall be 
in the liberty of the officers of the congregation, and 
the selectmen of such towns together, to nominate 
some one or two meet persons, to reform all such dis- 
ordered persons as shall offend by any misdemeanor, 
either in the congregation or elsewhere near about the 
meeting house, either by serious reproof, more private 
or more public, or other the like warning and meet cor- 
rection of the magistrate or commissioners of that town 
judge meet. And we are not doubtful but the reverend 
elders of the several congregations, according to their 
wisdom, will so order the time of their public exercise, 
that none shall be ordinarily occasioned to break off 

172 Sunday Legislation. 

from the congregation before the full conclusion of 
public exercises. 

" Records of Massachusetts Bay," vol. iv, pp. 
200, 201. 

At the second session of the general court for 
1658, held at Boston on the 19th of October, in 
view of the increase of Sunday profanation, the 
following action was taken : 

Whereas by too sad experience it is observed, the 
sun being set, both every Saturday and on the Lord's 
day, young people and others take liberty to walk, and 
sport themselves in the streets or fields in the several 
towns of this jurisdiction, to the dishonor of God and 
the disturbance of others in their religious exercises, and 
too frequently repair to public houses of entertainment 
and there sit drinking, all which tends, not only to the 
hindering of due preparation for the Sabbath, but as 
much as in them lies renders the ordinances of God al- 
together unprofitable, and threatens rooting out of the 
power of godliness, and procuring the wrath and judg- 
ments of God upon us and our posterity : for the pre- 
vention whereof it is ordered by this court, and the au- 
'thority thereof, that if any person or persons henceforth, 
either on the Saturday night or Lord's day night after 
the sun is set, shall be found sporting in the streets or 
fields of any town in this jurisdiction, drinking or being 
in any house of entertainment (unless strangers or so- 
journers, as in their lodgings), and can not give a satis- 
factory reason to such magistrate or commissioner in the 
several towns as shall have the cognizance thereof, every 
such person so found, complained of, and proved trans- 

In America — Colonial Period. 173 

gressing, shall pay five shillings for every such transgres- 
sion, or suffer corporal punishment, as authority afore- 
said shall determine. 

" Records of Massachusetts Bay," vol. iv, part i, 

p. 347- 

At a general court called by order of the coun- 
cil on the 1st of August, 1665, and held at Boston 
the 1st of August, the following was enacted: 

This court being sensible that through the wicked 
practices of many persons who do profane God's holy 
Sabbaths, and contemn the public worship of his house, 
the name of God is greatly dishonored, and the profes- 
sion of his people here greatly scandalized, as tending 
to all profaneness and irreligion, as also that by reason 
of the late order of Oct. 20th, 1663, remitting the fines 
imposed on such to the use of the several towns, the 
laws made for reclaiming such enormities are become 
ineffectual, do therefore order and enact, that hence- 
forth all fines imposed according to law for profanation 
of the Sabbath, contempt or neglect of God's public wor- 
ship, reproaching of the laws and authority here estab- 
lished, according to his Majesty's charter, shall be to the 
use of the several counties as formerly, anything in the 
above said law to the contrary notwithstanding ; and in 
case any person or persons so sentenced do neglect or 
refuse to pay such fine or mulct as shall be legally im- 
posed on them, or give security in court, to the treasurer 
for payment thereof, every such person or persons, so 
refusing or neglecting to submit to the court's sentence, 
shall for such his contempt be corporally punished ac- 
cording as the court that hath cognizance of the case 

174 Sunday Legislation. 

shall determine, and where any are corporally punished, 
their fines shall be remitted. 

" Records of Massachusetts Bay," vol. iv, part ii, 
p. 276. 

Three years later, October, 1668, the general 
court, sitting at Boston, took up this matter again, 
and passed the following : 

For the better prevention of the breach of the Sab- 
bath, it is enacted by this court and the authority there- 
of, that no servile work shall be done on that day, viz., 
such as are not works of piety, of charity, or of neces- 
sity ; and when other works are done on that day, the 
persons so doing, upon complaint or presentment, being 
legally convicted thereof before any magistrate or county 
court, shall pay for the first offense ten shillings fine, and 
for every offense after to be doubled ; and, in case the 
offense herein be circumstanced with profaneness or 
high-handed presumption, the penalty is to be augmented 
at the discretion of the judges. As an addition to the 
law for preventing profaning of the Sabbath-day by do- 
ing servile work, this court doth order, that whatsoever 
person in this jurisdiction shall travel upon the Lord's 
day, either on horseback or on foot, or by boats from 
or out of their own town to any unlawful assembly or 
meeting not allowed by law, are hereby declared to be 
profaners of the Sabbath, and shall be proceeded against 
as the persons that profane the Lord's day by doing ser- 
vile work. 

"Records of Massachusetts Bay," vol. iv, part ii, 

P- 395- 

In America — Colonial Period, 175 

At a general court held in Boston in 1667, the 
Sunday laws were further amended by an act of 
the 24th of May, running as follows : 

This court, being desirous to prevent all occasions of 
complaint, referring to the profanation of the Sabbath, 
and as an addition to former laws, do order and enact, 
that all the laws for sanctification of the Sabbath and 
preventing the profaning thereof, be twice in the year, 
viz., in March and in September, publicly read by the 
minister or ministers on the Lord's day in the several 
respective assemblies within this jurisdiction, and all 
people by him cautioned to take heed to the observance 
thereof. And the selectmen are hereby ordered to see 
to it that there be one man appointed to inspect the ten 
families of his neighbors, which tything man or men 
shall, and are hereby, have power in the absence of the 
constable, to apprehend all Sabbath-breakers and dis- 
orderly tipplers, or such as keep licensed houses or 
others that shall suffer any disorders in their houses on 
the Sabbath-day, or evening after, or at any other time, 
and to carry them before a magistrate or other authority, 
or commit to prison as any constable may do, to be pro- 
ceeded with according to law. 

And for the better putting a restraint and securing 
offenders that shall any way transgress against the laws, 
tittle Sabbath, either in the meeting house by abusive 
carriage or misbehavior, by making any noise or other- 
wise, or during the day time, being laid hold on by any 
of the inhabitants shall, by the said person appointed to 
inspect this law, be forthwith carried forth and put into 
a cage in Boston, which is appointed to be forthwith by 
the selectmen, to be set up in the market-place and in 

176 Sunday Legislation, 

such other towns as the county courts shall appoint, 
there to remain till authority shall examine the person 
offending and give order for his punishment, as the 
matter may require, according to the laws relating to the 

"Records of Massachusetts Bay," vol. v, p. 133. 

The same court made additional lavi^s concern- 
ing Quaker meetings, ordering all constables, on 
penalty of the forfeiture of forty shillings, to 
*' make diligent search " for such gatherings, es- 
pecially on the Lord's day, and if denied admit- 
tance, to break down the doors and arrest the fre- 
quenters according to lav^. It also ordered that 
persons complained of, as being absent from pub- 
lic service on Sunday, who would neither affirm 
that they were present nor that they were '' neces- 
sarily absent by the providence of God," should be 
thereupon adjudged as convicted, and punished 
accordingly. (*' Records of Massachusetts Bay,** 
vol. V, p. 134.) 

October 15, 1673, the foregoing laws were 
amended as follows : 

As an addition to the law of the Sabbath, section the 
second, it is ordered by this court and the authority 
thereof, besides the penalty upon the persons there of- 
fending, the public house keeper, where any such per- 
son or persons are found so transgressing (as in the said 
law is expressed), shall pay five shillings to the treasury 
of the country where the offense is committed. 

** Records of Massachusetts Bay," vol. iv, part ii, 
p. 562. 

In America — Colonial Period, 177 

u On the loth of October, 1677, the general court 
in session at Boston, made the following additions 
to this law : 

As an addition to the late law made in May last for the 
prevention of profanation of the Sabbath, and strengthen- 
ing of the hands of tything men appointed to inspect the 
same, it is ordered that those tything men shall be and 
are hereby appointed and empowered to inspect public 
licensed houses, as well as private and unlicensed houses, 
houses of entertainment, as also ex-officio to enter any such 
houses and discharge their duty according to law ; and 
the said tything men are empowered to assist one 
another in their several precincts and to act in one 
another's precincts with as full power as in their own, and 
yet to retain their special charges within their own 

" Records of Massachusetts Bay," vol. v, p. 155, 

^ Two years later, October 15, 1679, the gen- 
eral court, at Boston, enacted certain local laws, 
of which the following is a representative : 

For prevention of profanation of the Sabbath, and 
disorders on Saturday night, by horses and carts passing 
late out of the town of Boston, it is ordered and enacted 
by this court, that there be a ward, from sunset on Satur- 
day night, until nine of the clock or after, consisting of 
one of the selectmen or constables of Boston, with two 
or more meet persons, who shall walk between the forti- 
fication and the town's end, and upon no pretense what- 
soever suffer any cart to pass out of the town after sun- 
set, nor any footman or horseman, without such good 
account of the necessity of his business as may be to 

178 Sunday Legislation. 

their satisfaction ; and all persons attempting to ride or 
drive out of town after sunset, without such reasonable 
satisfaction given, shall be apprehended and brought 
before authority to be proceeded against as Sabbath- 
breakers ; and all other towns are empowered to do the 
like as need shall be. , 

" Records of Massachusetts Bay," vol. v, p. 239, 

By the same court, the reading of the Sunday 
laws was placed in the hands of the town clerks, 
to be done at some public meeting of the town, 
instead of being done by the ministers on Sunday. 
C' Records of Massachusetts Bay," vol. v, p. 243.) 

Thus the laws stood with little or no change 
until the new charter and the provincial govern- 

In 1691, Massachusetts, including Plymouth 
Colony and other territories lying north and east, 
was reorganized under a new charter from King 
William and Queen Mary. The change did not, 
however, materially affect the status of the Sunday 

On the 22d of August, 1695, a general act was 
passed which embodied the substance of all the 
former colonial laws. By this, all '' labor and 
sporting " was prohibited under penalty of five 
shillings fine. All '' traveling," except in cases 
of great necessity, was punishable b}^ a fine of 
twenty shillings. The keepers of public houses 
were forbidden to entertain any except travelers 
and boarders, on penalty of five shillings fine. 

In America — Colonial Period, 179 

Any one justice of the peace was empowered to 
try the cases, and on his judgment to pass sen- 
tence, and the fines, if not forthcoming, were to 
be collected by distraint. If the offender was un- 
able to pay the fine, he was to be '' set in the 
stocks," or '' caged," not more than three hours. 
These acts were in force from sunset on Saturday, 
until sunset on Sunday. All civil officers and par- 
ents were enjoined carefully to enforce these acts. 
('* Acts and Law^s of the Province of Massachu- 
setts Bay, from 1692 to 1719/' folio edition, Lon- 
don, 1724, pp. 15, 16.) 

In 171 1, this law was added to, in that twelve 
hours' imprisonment was made one of the penalties 
of transgression, and constables were especially 
empowered and instructed to labor diligently to 
prevent profanation of the Sunday. (^' Acts and 
Laws of the Province of Massachusetts Bay," p. 

Four years later, in 1716, we find Sunday dese- 
cration on the increase, since, although many laws 
have been passed, it is said : '' Many persons do 
presume to work and travel on the said day " ; so 
that the authorities saw fit to increase the penalty 
for ** working or playing " to ten shillings, and 
that for traveling to twenty shillings for the first 
offense. For the second offense these fines were 
doubled, and the parties made to give '' sureties " 
for good behavior in the future. A month's con- 
tinued absence from the public Sunday services 
was also made finable in the sum of twenty shil- 

f8o Sunday Legislation. 

lings, or ** three hours in the stocks, or cage." 
('' Acts and Laws of the Province of Massachu- 
setts Bay," p. 328.) 

In 1727, the fine for '' working or playing" was 
increased to fifteen shillings, and that for travel- 
ing to thirty shillings for the first offense, and for 
the second, three pounds. If the offender failed 
to pay, he was liable to the stocks or the cage for 
four hours, or to imprisonment in the county jail, 
not to exceed five days. At this time, also, funer- 
als, since they induced *' great profanation " of 
Sunday, by the traveling of children and servants 
in the streets, were prohibited, except in extreme 
cases, and then under license from a civil officer 
of the town. The director of a funeral trans- 
gressing this was to be fined forty shillings, and 
the sexton or grave-digger twenty shillings. 
Shops for the retailing of strong drinks were also 
to be searched by the proper officers, and if any 
were found there drinking, the proprietor and the 
drinker were each to pay five shillings. ('* Acts 
and Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts 
Bay," vol. ii, p. 456.) 

In 1 741 an additional act was passed against 
slothfuUy loitering in the streets or fields, making 
the penalty twenty shillings for the first offense 
and forty for the second, with costs, and imprison- 
ment until paid. Appeal to the next court was 
allowed. (''Acts and Resolves of the Province of 
Massachusetts Ba3^"p. 1071, Boston edition, 1874.) 

In 1760 a general amendment was made by re- 

In America — Colonial Period. i8i 

pealing all former laws relative to Sunday, and 
enacting a new code. The reasons for repealing 
are thus stated : 

Whereas by reason of different constructions of the 
several laws now in force relating to the observation of 
the Lord's day, or Christian Sabbath, the said laws have 
not been duly executed, and, notwithstanding the pious 
intention of the legislators, the Lord's day hath been 
greatly and frequently profaned, therefore, etc. 

The preamble to the new law is as follows : 

And whereas, it is the duty of all persons, upon the 
Lord's day, carefully to apply themselves publicly and 
privately to religion and piety, the profanation of the 
Lord's day is highly offensive to Almighty God ; of evil 
example, and tends to the grief and disturbance of all 
pious and religiously disposed persons, therefore, etc. 

The main features of the new code were the 
same as those of the former laws. The provisions 
were these : ^ 

1. Work or play, on land or water, is fined not 
less than ten nor more than twenty shillings. 

2. Traveling by any one except in extremity, 
and then only far enough for immediate relief, is 
liable to the same penalty. 

3. Licensed public-house keepers are forbidden 
to entertain any except "' travelers, strangers and 
lodgers " in their houses or about their premises, 
for the purpose of drinking, playing, lounging, or 
doing any secular business whatever, on penalty 
of ten shillings ; the person lounging, etc., also 

1 82 Sunday Legislation. 

paying not less than five shillings. On the second 
conviction, the inn-keeper is made to pay twenty 
shillings, and on the third offense to lose his 

4. Loitering, walking, or gathering in compa- 
nies in '' streets, fields, orchards, lanes, wharves/' 
etc., is prohibited on pain of five shillings fine ; 
and on a second conviction, the offender is re- 
quired to give bail for future obedience. 

5. Absence from public service for one month 
is fined ten shillings. 

6. No one is to assist at any funeral, not even 
to ring a bell, unless it be a licensed funeral, on 
penalty of twenty shillings fine. In Boston, how- 
ever, a funeral might be attended after sunset 
without a license. , 

7. The observance of the Sunday was to com- 
mence from sunset on Saturday. 

8. Twelve wardens were appointed in each 
town to execute these laws ; these were to look 
after all infringements, enter all suspected places, 
examine or inquire after all suspected persons, 
etc. In Boston, they were to patrol the streets 
every Sunday (very stormy or cold days except- 
ed), and diligently watch and search for offenders. 
In case any one convicted on any point in this 
code failed to pay his fine at once, he was to be 
committed to the common jail, not less than five, 
nor more than ten da3^s. These laws were to be 
read at the "' March meeting ** of the towns each 
year. ('' Acts and Laws of the Province of Massa- 

In America — Colonial Period. 183 

chusetts Bay," folio edition, pp. 392 to 397, Bos- 
ton, 1759.) 

In 1761 this code was supplemented by another 
act making it five pounds fine to give any false 
answers to a warden, or to refuse him aid or in- 
formation when called upon. ('' Acts and Laws 
of the Province of Massachusetts Bay,*' folio edi- 
tion, pp. 397, 398.) These w^ere all carried over, 
in essence, to the State laws. 


PERIOD — Continued, 

New Haven Colony. 

The primary compact formed by the colonists 
at New Haven shows that they claimed to take 
the Bible as their guide in all things. The com- 
mon law, based upon the Sabbath laws of the 
Jewish theocracy, was the accepted authority 
concerning the Sunday. In December, 1647, the 
transactions of certain ship-masters in the harbor 
of New Haven, on Sunday, brought the matter of 
Sunday desecration before the civil court. The 
offenders, after examination, were dismissed, but 
the case created considerable interest, and the 
time seemed to demand some definite legislation. 
Hence, on the 31st of January, 1647, the court 
took the following action : 

It was propounded to the court to consider whether 
it were not meet to make a law for restraining of per- 
sons from their ordinary outward employments on any 
part of the Sabbath, and the rather, because some have 

In America — Colonial Period. 185 

of late taken too much liberty that way, and have been 
called to answer for it in the particular court. The 
court, considering that it is their duty to do the best 
they can that the law of God may be strictly observed, did 
therefore order that. Whosoever shall, within this plan- 
tation, break the Sabbath by doing any of their ordinary 
outward occasions, from sunset to sunset, either upon 
the land or upon the water, extraordinary cases, works 
of mercy and necessity being excepted, he shall be 
counted an offender, and shall suffer such punishment 
as the particular court shall judge meet, according to 
the nature of his offense. 

" New Haven Colony and Plantation Records, 
from 1638 to 1649," p. 358. 

The "New Haven Code/* published for the 
use of the colony in 1656, embraces all the general 
law^s w^hich were enacted previous to the union 
between the New Haven and Connecticut colo- 
nies. This code contains the following, relative 
to attendance on public worship : 

And it is further ordered that wheresoever the minis- 
try of the Word is established within this jurisdiction, 
according to the order of the gospel, every person, ac- 
cording to the mind of God, shall duly resort and attend 
thereunto, upon the Lord's days, at least, and also upon 
days of public fasting or thanksgiving ordered to be 
generally kept and observed. And if any person within 
this jurisdiction shall without just and necessary cause, 
absent or withdraw from the same, he shall, after due 
means of conviction used, for every such sinful miscar- 


1 86 Sunday Legislation. 

riage, forfeit five shillings to the plantation, to be levied 
as other fines. 

" New Haven Colony Records, 1653-1655,'* p. 588. 

The following statute on the '' Profanation of 
the Lord's day," is worthy of careful notice : 

Whosoever shall profane the Lord's day or any part 
of it, either by sinful servile work, or by unlawful sport, 
recreation, or otherwise, whether willfully or in a careless 
neglect, shall be duly punished by fine, imprisonment, or 
corporally, according to the nature and measure of the 
sin and offense. But if the court upon examination, 
by clear and satisfying evidence, find that the sin was 
proudly, presumptuously, and with a high hand, com- 
mitted against the known command and authority of the 
blessed God, such a person therein despising and re- 
proaching the Lord, shall be put to death, that all oth- 
ers may fear and shun such provoking, rebellious courses. 
(Numb. 15 : from 30 to 2i^ verse.) 

" New Haven Colony Records, 1653-1655,'' p. 605. 

In 1665, the colony of New Haven was united 
with that of Connecticut under the latter name. 
Its history will therefore be traced under that 
head from this point forward. 

The Colony of Connecticut. 

Here, again, there were at first no special stat- 
utes relative to Sunday. In 1650, a general code 
of laws was established, in which is the following 
proviso, as a part of the law against burglary : 

In America — Colonial Period, 187 

And if any person shall commit [such burglary, or] 
rob, in the fields or houses on the Lord's day, beside 
the former punishments, he shall, for the first offense, 
have one of his ears cut off; and for the second offense 
in the same kind, he shall lose his other ear in the same 
manner, and if he fall into the same offense the third 
time, he shall be put to death. 

" Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut 
prior to 1665," p. 514. 

At a general court, held September 8, i653> 
the following was enacted relative to maritime 
matters : 

Whereas, it is observed that many seamen divers 
times weigh anchors in the harbors of several plantations 
within these liberties, and pass out on the Lord's day to 
the grief and offense of the beholders, for the preventing 
whereof it is ordered : That after the publishing this 
order, no vessel shall depart out of any harbor within 
this jurisdiction, but the master of the boat or vessel 
shall first give notice of the occasion of his remove to 
the head officer of the town next the said harbor where 
they so anchor, and obtain license, under the hand of 
the said officer, for his liberty therein. Otherwise they 
shall undergo the censure of the court. 

"Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut 
prior to 1665,*' p. 247. 

The law relative to the attendance on public 
worship is the same, in essence, as those already 
noticed. It is as follows : 

It is ordered and decreed by this court and authority 
thereof, that wheresoever the ministry of the Word is es- 

1 88 Sunday Legislation. 

tablished according to the order of the gospel, through- 
out this jurisdiction, every person shall duly resort and 
attend thereunto, respectively upon the Lord's day and 
upon such public fast days and days of thanksgiving as 
are to be generally kept by the appointment of authority. 
And if any person within this jurisdiction shall, without 
just and necessary cause, withdraw himself from hearing 
the public ministry of the Word, after due means of con- 
viction used, he shall forfeit for his absence from every 
such public meeting five shillings, all such offenses to be 
heard and determined by any one magistrate or more, 
from time to time. 

'^ Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut 
prior to 1665,'* p. 524. 

Two years after the union of the colonies of 
New Haven and Connecticut under one govern- 
ment, a law was passed forbidding Indians to pro- 
fane the Sunday, on penalty of five shillings fine 
or one hour in the stocks. 

On the 19th of May, 1668, a general law was 
enacted as follows : 

Whereas, the sanctification of the Sabbath is a matter 
of great concernment to the weal of a people, and the 
profanation thereof is that as pulls down the judgments 
of God upon that place or people that suffer the same : 
It is therefore ordered by this court and the authority 
thereof, that if any person shall profane the Sabbath, by 
unnecessary travel, or playing thereon in the time of 
public worship, or before, or after, or shall keep out of 
the meeting-house during the public worship unneces- 
sarily, there being convenient room in the house, he shall 

In America — Colonial Period, 189 

pay five shillings for every such offense, or sit in the 
stocks one hour ; any one assistant or commissioner to 
hear and determine any such case. And the constables 
in the several plantations are hereby required to make 
search after all offenders against this law, and make re- 
turn thereof to the commissioners or assistants. 

** Colonial Records of Connecticut, 1665-1667,** 
p. m. 

In 1676, the above was strengthened by the 
following : 

Whereas, notwithstanding former provisions made 
for the due sanctification of the Sabbath, it is observed 
that by sundry abuses the Sabbath is profaned, the or- 
dinances rendered unprofitable, which threatens the 
rooting out of the power of godliness, and the procuring 
of the wrath and judgments of God upon us and our 
posterity ; for prevention whereof it is ordered by this 
court that if any person or persons henceforth, either on 
the Saturday night or on the Lord's day night, though it 
be after the sun is set, shall be found sporting in the 
streets or fields of any town in this jurisdiction, or be 
drinking in houses of public entertainment or elsewhere, 
unless for necessity, every such person so found, com- 
plained of, and proved transgressing, shall pay ten shil- 
lings for every such transgression, or suffer corporal pun- 
ishment for default of due payment. Nor shall any sell 
or draw any sort of strong drink at any time, or to be 
used in any such manner, upon the like penalty for every 

It is also further ordered that no servile work shall be 
done on the Sabbath, viz., such as are not works of piety, 
charity, or necessity ; and no profane discourse or talk, 

I go Sunday Legislation, 

rude or unreverent behavior shall be used on that holy- 
day, upon the penalty of ten shillings fine for every trans- 
gression hereof, and in case the offense be circumstanced 
with high-handed presumption as well [as] profaneness, 
the penalty to be augmented at the discretion of the 


"Colonial Records of Connecticut from 1665 to 

1677," p. 280. 

Under date of May, 1684, is found an act re- 
ferring to the foregoing laws and their enforce- 
ment in the following words : 

Whereas, this court, in the calamitous time of New 
England's .distress by the war with the Indians in the 
years seventy- five and seventy-six, were moved to make 
some laws for the suppression of some provoking evils 
which were feared to be growing up among us, as, viz., 
profanation of the Sabbath, neglect of catechising of 
children and servants, and family prayer, . . . which 
laws (for want of due prosecution of offenders that are 
guilty of the breach of them) have little tended to the 
suppressing of the growth of said evils amongst us, and 
have not answered that expectation of reformation which 
this court aimed at ; it is therefore ordered by this court, 
that the selectmen, constables, and grand jurymen in the 
several plantations shall have a special care in their re- 
spective places to promote the due and full attendance 
of those forementioned orders of this court, by the sev- 
eral inhabitants of their respective towns. And the se- 
lectmen, constables, and grand jurymen shall, at least 
once a month, make presentment of all breaches of such 
laws as are come to their knowledge, to the next assist- 
ant or commissioner under their lands. 

In America — Colonial Period, 191 

Any failure on the part of these officers to 
perform the above-mentioned duties was made 
finable to the amount of ten shillings for every 
neglect, Two years later this act was renewed 
in nearly the same words. ('' Colonial Records of 
Connecticut from 1678 to 1689," pp. 148, 203.) 
Thus did Sabbath desecration, so called, increase 
in spite of these stringent laws, guarded by severe 
and often-executed penalties. 

Soon after this came the interruption of the 
government by Andros, which lasted between one 
and two years. When the government was re- 
stored, the general court declared all laws to be 
binding which were in force before the interrup- 
tion. After this restoration of the colonial gov- 
ernment in 1689, little appears concerning the 
Sunday laws for several years. In 171 5 an es- 
pecial act was passed concerning the movements 
of vessels in the harbors, and a general one re- 
quiring the officers to execute the existing law 
against vice and immorality, among which the 
Sunday laws are mentioned. The power of these 
officers to search after delinquents was also in- 
creased. ('^ Acts and Laws of Connecticut," folio 
edition, pp. 206-208. New London, 171 5 and 
1737.) In 1 72 1 additional laws were passed under 
the following preamble : 

Whereas, notwithstanding the liberty by law granted 
to all persons to worship God in such places as they 
shall for that end provide, and in such manner as they 
shall judge to be most agreeable to the Word of God ; 

192 Sunday Legislation. 

and notwithstanding the laws already provided for the 
sanctification of the Lord's day, or the Christian Sabbath, 
many disorderly persons in abuse of that liberty, and 
regardless of those laws, neglect the public worship of 
God on the said day, and profane the same by their rude 
and unlawful behavior ; therefore, etc. 

By this law : 

1. Non-attendance on lawful public worship 
was subjected to a fine of five shillings. 

2. The same penalty was incurred by going 
forth from one's place of abode for any reason 
except to attend worship or perform works of 

3. A fine of twenty shillings was imposed for 
assembling in any meeting-house on Sunday with- 
out the consent of the congregation to whom it 
belonged and the minister who usually officiated 
in it. 

4. Disturbing any meeting for public worship 
on Sunday was made punishable by a fine of 
forty shillings. 

5. Failure to pay or secure a fine imposed for 
any of these offenses, within one week, was pun- 
dished by labor in the house of correction for one 

month or less. 

6. No appeal from a justice's court was al- 

7. All charges were to be preferred within one 
month from the time of the offense. (" Acts and 
Laws of Connecticut," folio, pp. 261, 262. New 
London, 171 5-1737.) 

In America — Colonial Period. 193 

Other supplementary acts were also passed, 
relating mainly to the duties of the civil authori- 
ties in executing these laws. In 1726 all assistant 
justices of the peace were empowered, on their 
own ** plain view or personal knowledge '' of pro- 
fanity, drunkenness, or Sabbath-breaking, to make 
out a judgment accordingly against the offender, 
**any law or custom to the contrary notwith- 
standing.'* {Ibid,, p. 319.) 

In 1733 a more extensive code was established, 
of which the following is an outline : 

1. Non-attendance on public worship for a 
specified time, was punished by a fine of three 

2. Ten shillings was made the penalty for as- 
sembling in a meeting-house without the consent 
of the congregation and minister for whom it was 
provided. No persons were allowed to neglect 
public worship, and meet in private houses, on 
penalty of ten shillings. 

3. All work or play, on land or water, on Sun- 
days, fast, or thanksgiving days, was prohibited 
under a fine of ten shillings. 

4. Disturbing public worship by rude or clam- 
orous behavior, in or within hearing of the as- 
sembly, was fined forty shillings. 

5. All traveling, except in great extremity, was 
forbidden on pain of twenty shillings fine, and all 
absence from one's house, except for church at- 
tendance, or ** necessity," incurred a fine of five 


194 Sunday Legislation. 

6. Staying outside at the meeting-house (there 
being room inside), or going out unnecessarily 
during service, or playing or talking around 
places of worship, was finable in the sum of three 
shillings. Gathering in companies in streets, or 
elsewhere, on the evening before or the evening 
after the Sunday, or on the evening after any fast 
day, religious gatherings excepted, was liable to 
a penalty of three shillings, or two hours in the 

7. Loitering or drinking, in or about any pub- 
lic place after sunset on Saturday night, subjected 
both the offender and the keeper of the place to a 
fine of five shillings. 

8. No vessel was allowed to put to sea from 
any harbor, river, or creek within the colonial 
limits without license, granted only in extreme 
emergency, nor to weigh anchor within two miles 
of any place of meeting, unless to get nearer 
to that place, under forfeiture of thirty shil- 

9. Posting notices on Sunday, or publishing 
them in any way, was declared illegal, and the 
proper officers were instructed to destroy all such 
as should be put up, and the one putting up the 
same was subjected to a fine of five shillings. 

10. Two " tythingmen ** were ordered to be 
appointed for every parish ; these were empowered 
and instructed, after the usual manner, to execute 
these provisions. Whipping, twenty stripes or 
less, was the penalty for non-payment of a fine. 

In America — Colonial Period. 195 

^(**Acts and Laws of Connecticut, 1750 to 1772," 
pp. 139-142O 

In 1 761, in spite of all that had been done, 
traveling is declared to be a '' growing evil," and 
all assistant justices of the peace are empowered 
to arrest, without a written warrant, any person 
traveling unnecessarily, and every sheriff, consta- 
ble, grand juryman and tything-man was em- 
powered to take such person into custody, *^ upon 
sight, or present information of others/' Refusal 
to aid in any such arrest, when called upon, in- 
curred the usual penalties. {Ibid., p. 259.) 

In 1770 an act was passed allowing all sober 
persons who conscientiously differed from the es- 
tablished worship and ministr}^ of the colony, to 
meet together for worship without incurring the 
penalties provided for in the preceding laws 
against such meetings, and against absence from 
the recognized services. (Ibid,, p. 351.) 

Rhode Island Colony Laws. 

The land of Roger Williams must of necessity 
have produced Sunday laws different from those 
of the other New England colonies. What these 
laws were will be clearly seen by the following 
extracts. The General Assembly, sitting at New- 
port, on the 2d day of September, 1673, enacted 
as follows : 

Voted, this Assembly considering that the King hath 
granted us that not any in this colony are to be molested 

196 Sunday Legislation. 

in the liberty of their consciences, who are not disturb- 
ers of the civil peace, and we are persuaded that a most 
flourishing civil government, with loyalty, may be best 
propagated where liberty of conscience by any corporal 
power is not obstructed, that is not to any unchasteness 
of body, and not by a body doing any hurt to a body, 
neither endeavoring so to do, and although we know by 
man not any can be forced to worship God, or for to 
keep holy or not to keep holy any day ; but forasmuch 
as the first days of the weeks it is usual for parents and 
masters not to employ their children or servants, as upon 
other days, and some others also that are not under 
such government, accounting it as spare time, and so 
spend it in debaistness or tippling, and unlawful games, 
and wantonness, and most abominably there practiced 
by those that live with the English, at such times to re- 
sort to towns. Therefore, this Assembly, not to oppose 
or propagate any worship, but as by preventing debaist- 
ness, although we know masters or parents can not, and 
are not, by violence to endeavor to force any under their 
government, to any worship, or from any worship, that is 
not debaistness or disturbant to the civil peace, but they 
are to require them, and if that will not prevail, if they 
can, they should compel them not to do what is debaist- 
ness, or uncivil, or inhuman, not to frequent any immod- 
est company or practices. 

Therefore, by his Majesty's authority it is enacted, 
that on the first days of the weeks, whoever he be that 
doth let any have any drink, that he or any other is drunk 
thereby, besides all other forfeitures therefor for every 
one so drunk, they shall forfeit six shillings, and for every 
one that entertains in gaming or tippling upon the first 
day of the week, he shall forfeit six shillings. And by 

In America — Colonial Period, 197 

his Majesty's authority, thereby it is enacted, that for to 
prevent any such misdemeanors, if any are so guilty, to 
discover them, that every first day of the week, in every 
town in this colony there shall be a constable's watch, 
for every inhabitant fit to watch, to take his turn, that 
belongeth to the town, or pay for hiring one, so for one 
or more to watch in a day as the Town Council judge 
necessary to restrain any debaistness, or immodesty, or 
concourse of people, tippling or gaming, or wantonness, 
that all modest assemblies may not be interrupted ; es- 
pecially all such that profess they meet in the worship 
of God ; if some of them will be most false worshipers, 
they should only be strove against, therefore, with 
spiritual weapons, if they do not disown that they 
should not be condemned, whoever they be, that be un- 
chaste with their bodies, or with their bodies oppress or 
do violence to what is mortal of any man, but, as they 
should be subject to such, to suffer for such transgres- 
sions, parents may thereof correct their children and 
masters their servants ; and magistrates should be a ter- 
ror to such evil doers. 

"Rhode Island Colonial Records, i664-'77,'* vol. 
ii, PP- 503, 504. 

At a general assembly held at Newport, May 
7th, 1679, the follow^ing action was taken: 

Voted, whereas there hath complaint been made that 
sundry persons being evil-minded, have presumed to 
employ in servile labor, more than necessity requireth, 
their servants and also hire other men's servants and 
sell them to labor on the first day of the week ; for the 
prevention whereof, be it enacted, by this Assembly and 
the authority thereof, that if any person or persons 

198 Sunday Legislation. 

shall employ his servants, or hire and employ any 
other man's servant or servants and set them to la- 
bor, as aforesaid, the person or persons so offending 
shall, upon proof thereof made, pay for every offense 
by him or them committed, five shillings in money, to 
the use of the poor of the town or place in which the 
oifenses are committed ; which said five shillings, if the 
person offending refuse, upon conviction before one 
magistrate, to pay, a warrant under the hand of one 
magistrate, directed to the sergeant of the town where 
the offense was committed, shall be his sufficient war- 
rant to take by distraint so much of the estate of the 
offending party, together with two shillings for his 
service therein. 

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, 
that if any person or persons shall presume to sport, 
game, or play at any manner of game or games, or 
shooting, on the first day of the week, as aforesaid, or 
shall sit tippling and drinking in any tavern, ale-house, 
ordinary, or victualing house on the first day of the week, 
more than necessity requireth, and upon examination of 
the fact it shall be judged by one justice of the peace, 
the person offending, as aforesaid, upon conviction be- 
fore one justice of the peace, shall, by the said justice 
of the peace, be sentenced for every of the aforesaid 
offenses to sit in the stocks three hours, or pay five 
shillings in money for the use of the poor of the town or 
place where the offense was committed. 

"Rhode Island Colonial Records, 1678-1706,'* 
vol. iii, p. 30. 

Various modifications or simple re-enactments 
of the Rhode Island Sunday laws were made in 

In America — Colonial Period. 199 

1750 and 1784. In 1798 the laws of the State 
were revised. The main features of the Sunday 
laws were not changed. All work or play was 
prohibited on penalty of one dollar for the first 
offense, and two dollars for the second. In de- 
fault of payment, the offender was to suffer ten 
days' imprisonment in the county jail. The same 
penalty was imposed for employing others. All 
complaints to be made within ten days after the 
offense. An appeal was allowed. Otherwise the 
law of 1798 was identical with the present law. 
(^' Public Laws of Rhode Island and Providence 
Plantations,'* pp. 577 to 579, Providence, 1798.) 

New York. 

There was no representative government in 
what is now the State of New York until nearly 
a century after the first settlements were made 
within its limits. The records of the first half- 
century of the existence of the colony of New 
Netherlands, as it was called, are very meager. 
The government was administered by officers ap- 
pointed in Holland. The religious views of the 
Hollanders made it impossible that such an observ- 
ance of Sunday should obtain in New Netherlands 
as was common in new England. 

In 1647 Peter Stuyvesant was made *' Dicta- 
tor " of the colony. According to the statements 
of Mr. Brodhead ("History of New Netherlands," 
first period, p. 466), the social, civil, and religious 

200 Sunday Legislation. 

affairs of the colony were in a sad state of decline. 
The preceding administration of Kieft had been 
ruinous in many respects. On the arrival of Stuy- 
vesant, says Mr. Brodhead — 

Proclamations were immediately issued with a zeal 
and rapidity which promised to work a " thorough refor- 
mation." Sabbath-breaking, brawling and drunkenness 
were forbidden. Publicans were restrained from selling 
liquors, except to travelers, before two o'clock on Sun- 
days, " when there is no preaching," and after nine 
o'clock in the evening. 

Stuyvesant was a member of the Reformed 
Church at home, and was probably more strict 
than the most of his countrymen. In 1673 each 
town was empowered to make laws against Sab- 
bath-breaking and other immoralities (Documents 
relating to the Colonial History of New York, 
vol. ii, p. 621). The administration of Stuyvesant 
was the beginning of efforts at Sunday legislation. 

In 1691 a representative government was es- 
tablished under the English crown. In 1695, Oc- 
.tober 22d, the first Sunday law was passed by that 
government. It was prefaced by the following 
preamble, which gives an idea of the state of the 
country at that time : 

Whereas, the true and sincere worship of God ac- 
cording to his holy will and commandments, is often 
profaned and neglected by many of the inhabitants and 
sojourners in this province, who do not keep holy the 
Lord's day, but in a disorderly manner accustom them- 

In America — Colonial Period. 201 

selves to travel, laboring, working, shooting, fishing, 
sporting, playing, horse-racing, frequenting of tippling 
houses and the using many other unlawful exercises and 
pastimes, upon the Lord's day, to the great scandal of 
the holy Christian faith, be it enacted, etc. 

These are the provisions of the law : 

1. Six shillings fine for any of the above-named 
crimes, or any manner of work or play. 

2. Any justice of the peace might convict 
offenders, on " his own sight," '' on their confes- 
sion," or on the testimony of '^one or more wit- 
nesses"; fines were to be collected by distraint, 
if necessary. In default of payment, the offender 
was to sit for three hours in the '' stocks." If any 
master refused to pay the fine imposed upon a 
negro or Indian slave or servant, said slave or 
servant was to be whipped *' thirteen lashes." 
All complaint against offenders were to be made 
within one month. • 

3. It was lawful to travel any distance under 
twenty miles, for the purpose of attending public 
worship. It was also lawful to ''go for a physi- 
cian or nurse." These exemptions were not good 
in favor of unchristianized Indians. ('' Laws of 
New York from 1691 to 1773," large folio edition, 
vol. i, p. 23, 24. New York, 1874.) 

No other law concerning Sunday observance 
appears until after the establishment of the State 

202 Sunday Legislation. 


The early Sunday laws of Pennsylvania were 
far less strict than those of the New England 
States. In i/oo-'oi a general law was passed, 
John Evans being lieutenant-governor, under 
William Penn, of which the foUow^ing is the sub- 
stance : 

1. All general servile work on Sunday was 
prohibited on pain of twenty shillings fine. The 
exceptions under this provision were quite numer- 
ous. They allowed the preparing of food in pub- 
lic houses, the dressing and selling of meat by 
butchers and fishermen during the months of 
June, July, and August, the selling of milk before 
nine o'clock in the morning, and the landing of 
passengers by watermen during the entire day. 

2. No civil process was servable on Sunday. 

3. Any person found " tippling *' in public 
drinking-houses was fined one shilling and six- 
pence. Any dealer who allowed persons to drink 
and lounge about his premises, was liable to pay 
ten shillings fine. '* Taverns " were, however, al- 
lowed to sell to regular inmates and travelers ''in 
moderation." ('' Acts of the Assembly of the 
Province of Pennsylvania," vol. i, pp. 19-21, folio 
edition, Philadelphia, 1762.) 

There were various changes and modifications 
of this law, from time to time, up to 1786, when 
all former laws were repealed and a new one 
enacted. The new law imposed thirty shillings 

In America — Colonial Period. 203 

fine for working or sporting. It excepted " boat- 
men,'* '' watermen," '' stage coaches (having the 
consent of a justice on extraordinary occasions)," 
the general work of preparing food, and the 
*' delivery of milk and other necessaries of life," 
before nine o'clock in the morning, and after five 
o'clock in the afternoon. Any offender, in default 
of payment of his fine was liable to imprisonment. 
(*' Laws of Pennsylvania," vol. iii, chap. 297, folio 

In 1794, the above law was repealed, and its 
place supplied by one differing only in a few par- 
ticulars. By it the general fine was placed at four 
dollars, and *^ persons removing their families" 
were placed upon the list of exceptions under the 
head of traveling. ('' Laws of Pennsylvania," chap. 
1746, sec. I, 8mo edition, Philadelphia, 1803.) 

There has been but little, if any, change in the 
statute Sunday law of Pennsylvania since 1794. 


The early laws of Virginia have some resem- 
blance to those of New England. 

Hon. R. W. Thompson, Secretary of the Navy, 
in an address delivered in Washington, May 16, 
1880, makes the following statement concerning a 
law made before the organization of the regular 
assembly in 1619 : 

The very first statute passed by the Cavaliers of Vir- 
ginia provided that he who did not attend church on 

204 Sunday Legislation. 

Sunday, should pay a fine of two pounds of tobacco. 
This was the first law ever enacted in the United States, 
and was passed in 1617, three years before the Puritans 
landed at Plymouth. 

''Sabbath Doc. No. 45/' p. 15, New York. 

In 1623, a law was passed in these words : 

Whosoever shall absent himself from divine service 
any Sunday without an allowed excuse, shall forfeit a 
pound of tobacco ; and he that absents himself for a 
month shall forfeit fifty pounds of tobacco. 

''Statutes at Large of Virginia, Hening, 1619- 
1660," vol. i, p. 123. 

In 1629, the authorities were ordered to take 
care that the above law was carefully executed, 
and to ''see that the Sabbath-day be not ordinarily 
profaned by working in any employments, or by 
journeying from place to place.** {Ibid., p. 144.) 

In 1642, "church wardens *' are bound by their 
oath of office, to present to the civil authorities all 
cases of ''profaning God's name, and his holy Sab- 
baths.** In the same year it was " enacted for the 
better observation of the Sabbath, that no person 
or persons shall take a voyage upon the same, ex- 
cept it be to church, or for other causes of extreme 
necessity, upon the penalty of the forfeiture for 
such offense, of twenty pounds of tobacco.*' {Ibid.y 
pp. 240 and 261.) In 1657-58, this law was extend- 
ed so as to prohibit " traveling, loading of boats, 
shooting of game, and the like,** and the penalty 
was increased to " one hundred pounds of tobac- 

In America — Colonial Period. 205 

co/' or a place in the ^'stocks/' The execution of 
any ordinary civil process is also forbidden during 
this year. {Ibid,, pp. 434 and 457.) In 1691, the 
penalty was changed to '* twenty shillings," and in 
1696, to '' twenty shillings or two hundred pounds 
of tobacco." In 1705, the specifications of the law 
were increased, and all general acts of profanation 
by working, playing, drinking, etc., and also ab- 
sence from church for one month, were included 
in one class, the penalty being " five shillings or 
fifty pounds of tobacco." In default of payment, 
the offender was subjected to '' ten lashes." {Ibid., 
vol. iii, pp. 73, 138, and 361.) 

In 1786, a more elaborate code was passed, the 
substance of which was as follows : 

1. All ministers properly licensed, and faithful 
to the commonwealth, were exempted from arrest 
on any civil process while performing public re- 
ligious duties. 

2. Maliciously disturbing any public religious 
meeting, was made punishable by fine and impris- 

3. All labor, whether performed by one^s self, 
or by one's employes, was made liable to a fine of 
ten shillings. {Ibid., vol. xii, pp. 336, 337.) 

In 1792, the foregoing law was re-enacted with 
little or no change. In 1801, a law was passed 
forbidding any one to trade with slaves on Sun- 
day, without the consent of their masters, under 
penalty of ten dollars fine above the usual punish- 
ment for " Sabbath-breaking." (*' Acts of the As- 

2o6 Sunday Legislation. 

sembly of Virginia/* vol. i, pp. 276, 432. Rich- 
mond, 1803.) 

In 18 19, certain restrictions were placed upon 
the '* excessive drinking " on Sunday, or other 
days of religious worship appointed by public 
authority, the penalty of the liquor-seller being 
the ** loss of his license.'* ('' Revised Code of 
i8i9,>. 283.) 

Enforcement of Sunday Laws in the New 
England Colonies. 

Such was the Sunday Legislation during the 
Colonial period and in the leading colonies of the 
United States. The history of that period gives 
ample proof that these Sunday laws were not a 
'' dead letter." A few examples relative to their 
enforcement are here given. It would be tedious 
and useless to note every instance in which these 
laws were executed. The majority of the cases 
were, doubtless, disposed of by the common mag- 
istrates, and hence do not appear upon the records 
.of the higher courts. A few representative in- 
stances are given. 

October 6, 1636, John Barnes was found guilty 
of ''Sabbath-breaking** by a jury, and fined 
** thirty shillings," and " made to sit in the stocks 
one hour." In 1637, Stephen Hopkins was pre- 
sented for '' suffering men to drink at his house 
upon the Lord's day." Two years later, Web 
Adey was arraigned for working in his garden on 

In America — Colonial Period, 207 

Sunday. Before the year closes he repeats the 
offense and is '' set in the stocks " and '' whipped 
at the post." ('' Plymouth Colony Records," vol. 
i, pp. 44, 68, 86, 92.) 

In 1649, John Shaw was set in the stocks for 
'^attending tar pits" on Sunday, and Stephen 
Bryant was arrested, and '' admonished," for carry- 
ing a barrel to the same pits on the same day. 
The next year, 1650, Edward Hunt was arrested 
for shooting at deer on Sunday, Gowan White 
and Z. Hick called to account for "' traveling from 
Weymouth to Scituate on the Lord's day." In 
165 1, Elizabeth Eddy was arrested for '* wringing 
and hanging out clothes on the Lord*s day in time 
of service." Aurther Howland, for not attending 
church, and Nathaniel Basset and Joseph Pryor, 
for '* disturbing the church of Duxburrow," were 
also called to answer the demands of the law. 
('* Plymouth Colony Records," vol. ii, pp. 140, 
156, 165, 173, 174.) 

In 1651-52, Abraham Pierce, Henry Clarke, 
and Thurston Clarke, Jr., were arrested for lazily 
spending Sunday, and staying away from public 
service. Two or three years later, Peter Gaunt, 
Ralph Allen, Sen., and George Allen appeared to 
answer to a similar charge, and William Chase 
was called to answer for having driven a pair of 
oxen in the yoke '' about five miles on the Lord's 
day, in time of exercise." In 1658, Lieutenant 
James Wyatt was '' sharply reproved " for writing 
a business note on Sunday, "' at least in the even- 

2o8 Sunday Legislation. 

ing somewhat too soon." At the same time, 
Sarah Kirby was '' publicly whipped '* for disturb- 
ing public worship, and Ralph Jones paid '' ten 
shillings fine " for staying at home when the au- 
thorities thought he had ought to have been at 
church. ('* Plymouth Colony Records," vol. iii, 
pp. 5, lo, 52, 74, III, 112.) Similar cases might be 
quoted until many pages were filled, in which the 
reader would see that not only ordinary manual 
labor on Sunday was punished, but " whipping of 
servants," '' playing at cards," ''smoking tobac- 
co," etc., were sharply dealt with. Those were 
times when laws were made to be executed. 
Duty was the central idea in the Puritan system, 
and zeal was ever on the alert to perform what 
conscience or law demanded. The '' Blue Laws " 
which exist in tradition, though sometimes exag- 
gerated, and facetiously misrepresented, are a fair 
index to the rigid spirit of those days. The com- 
pilations of the '' Blue Laws " by Barber and 
Smucker are mainly, if not entirely, correct. At 
the time of the adoption of the State Constitu- 
tions, corporal punishment in the ''stocks" and 
the "cage," and at the "whipping post" was be- 
coming obsolete. 



This chapter presents the Sunday laws of the 
United States in force at the close of 1887. They 
are condensed, to avoid verbiage, but the provis- 
ions of each are carefully given. The laws indicate 
the legal status of the Sunday, which, however, 
differs widely from its actual status. In general, 
these laws are *'dead letter." Whoever wishes to 
disobey them, does so. Many of them which 
seem to be stringent, are open enough to '' drive 
a coach and four through without touching.*' 
The word " necessity ** admits of a broad interpre- 
tation. In some test cases courts have decided 
that cigars are '' necessary *' to those who smoke, 
and may be sold under that plea. The result of 
such indifference to law weakens regard for all 
legal authority. Special laws concerning the sale 
of alcoholic drinks on Sunday, except such pro- 
visions as are contained in the general laws, are 
not included in this chapter. These are generally 
local, and form a department of legislation by 


2IO Sunday Legislation. 


The Sunday law of Alabama prohibits doing, 
or compelling child, servant, or apprentice to do, 
any work on Sunday, except works of daily neces- 
sity, comfort, or charity. Hunting, gaming, card- 
playing, and racing ; keeping open store or shop, 
are prohibited. Penalty : not less than ten, nor more 
than twenty dollars for first offense, and for second 
and all subsequent offenses, not less than twenty, 
nor more than one hundred. Imprisonment in 
county jail, or sentence to hard labor for the coun- 
ty for three months, or less, may be added, after 
the first offense. Opening public market or shop 
for the purpose of selling or trading ; bringing to 
any such market anything for trade or barter ; 
buying or selling goods or wares, including cattle 
and live-stock, subjects the offender to the above- 
named penalties. Such offenders may be pro- 
ceeded against in the ordinary way, or by indict- 
ment in city or circuit courts. A *' market '' is 
any place where people assemble for the sale or 
purchase of things prohibited. 

This law exempts druggists, railroads, stages, 
steam or other vessels navigating any waters with- 
in the State, and such manufacturing establish- 
ments as need to be kept in constant operation. 

All contracts made on Sunday are void, except 
such as are made for the advancement of religion 
or in the interest of works of necessity or mercy. 
Attachments may be made and executed if a 

United States. 211 

debtor is about to abscond, or remove his property 
from the jurisdiction of the State. 

"Revised Code of Alabama, 1876," pp. 563, 750, 


Arkansas prohibits all labor by self, or com- 
pelling servant or apprentice to work, except 
daily domestic duties of necessity, or works of 
charity, under penalty of one dollar for every of- 
fense. Keeping open any store, or retailing any 
goods or wares, keeping open any dram-shop or 
grocery, or selling any spirits or wine, subjects 
the offender to a fine of not less than ten nor more 
than twenty dollars, charity and necessity except- 
ed. Horse-racing and cock-fighting for any bet or 
wager, or for amusement, without a bet or wager, 
are finable between twenty and one hundred dol- 
lars. Playing at cards in any game whatsoever, 
for bet, wager, or amusement, is finable from 
twenty-five to fifty dollars. 

Hunting with a gun for game, or shooting for 
amusement, incurs a fine of from five to twenty- 
five dollars for each offense. Parents and guard- 
ians are liable for offenses of minors, if the acts be 
performed with their consent or approbation. 

All vessels and all manufacturing establish- 
ments which need to be kept in constant opera- 
tion are exempted from the provisions against 
labor. Persons keeping any other day religiously 
are also exempt. In 1885 the provision in favor 

212 Sunday Legislation. 

of such persons was repealed, and some persecu- 
tion of Seventh-day Baptists and Seventh-day 
Adventists followed. Public opinion was thus 
aroused, and the exemption was promptly re- 
stored early in 1887. 

" Mansfield Digest (official) of 1884," pp. 486-488. 

Arizona has no Sunday law. 


The Sunday law of California was wholly re- 
pealed in 1883. No attempt has been made to re- 
enact a Sunday law since that time. 


Colorado had originally a general Sunday 
law, only a fragment of which remains. This 
prohibits opening of saloons or tippling-houses on 
that day ; and provides a fine of one hundred dol- 
lars, or imprisonment in county jail not exceeding 
six months. 


The Sunday law of Connecticut provides that 
every person who shall do any secular business or 
labor, except works of necessity or mercy, or keep 
open any shop, warehouse, or manufacturing es- 
tablishment, or expose any property for sale, or 

United States. 213 

engage in any sport or recreation on Sunday be- 
tween sunrise and sunset, shall be fined not more 
than four dollars nor less than one dollar; but 
haywards may perform their official duties on that 

Persons present at any concert, dancing, or 
other public diverson, day or evening, "• shall be 
fined four dollars/' 

Prosecutions for the foregoing *^ shall be exhib- 
ited within one month after the offense charged." 

Any person who keeps open any place where 
it is reputed that intoxicating liquors are exposed 
for sale, or any sports or games of chance are car- 
ried on or allowed, between twelve o'clock on 
Saturday night and twelve on the following Sun- 
day night shall be fined forty dollars, or impris- 
oned thirty days, or both. 

Every proprietor or driver of any vehicle, 
not employed in carrying the United States mail, 
who shall allow any person to travel thereon on 
Sunday between sunrise and sunset, is subject to 
a fine of twenty dollars. 

Sabbatarians who conscientiously observe 
Saturday, and disturb no other person while at- 
tending public worship on Sunday, are free from 
the penalties of this law. 

A civil process served between sunrise and 
sunset on Sunday is void. 

Any justice of the peace may arraign for 
trial and condemnation on his own personal 

214 Sunday Legislation. 

In 1883, the act against the letting of vehicles 
was repealed. 

*' Revised Statutes of Connecticut, 1875/' pp. 398, 
521, 522, 523. "Public Acts of 1882," p. 
124. " Public Acts of 1883/' p. 17. 

The foregoing statute was amended in 1887 as 
follows : 

1. No corporation, company, or association operating 
any railroad in this State, shall run any train on any 
road operated by it within this State, between sunrise 
and sunset on Sunday, except from necessity or mercy ; 
always provided^ that before ten o'clock and thirty min- 
utes in the forenoon and after three o'clock in the after- 
noon it may run trains carrying the United States mail, 
and such other trains or classes of trains as may be 
authorized by the railroad commissioners of this State, 
on application made to them on the ground that the same 
are required by the public necessity, or for the preserva- 
tion of freight. 

2. No such corporation, company, or association 
shall permit the handling, the loading, or the unloading 
of freight on any road operated by it, or at any of its 
depots or stations within this State, between sunrise and 
sunset on Sunday, except from necessity or mercy. 

3. Every such corporation, company, or association 
which shall violate any of the foregoing provisions of 
this statute shall forfeit and pay the sum of two hundred 
and fifty dollars for any such violation, to be recovered 
by the State treasurer in an action of debt on this 

4. No such corporation, company, or association 

United States. 215 

shall transport passengers on Sunday, upon any train 
deemed necessary according to the intent of section 
one of this act, for less than the highest regular fare col- 
lected on week days, and no commutation, special bar- 
gain, or season or mileage ticket shall include or provide 
for any travel on said day, under a penalty of fifty dol- 
lars for each and every violation of this provision, to be 
recovered by the State treasurer in an action of debt on 
this statute. 

5. This act shall not be construed as repealing or 
superseding existing statutes which prohibit secular work 
or recreation on Sunday, except so far as it may be 
found in its operation to be inconsistent with them. 

Approved, March 11, 1887. 

** Public Acts of the State of Connecticut, January 
Session, 1887," pp. 665, (>(>(>, 


Dakota prohibits servile labor, public sports, 
trades, manufacturing and mechanical employ- 
ments, public traffic, and legal processes, under a 
general penalty of one dollar for each offense. 

This law permits works of necessity and 
mercy. It also allows the sale of milk, meats, and 
fish, before 9 A. M., or food to be eaten on the 
premises at any time ; drugs, medicines, and surgi- 
cal appliances. Legal processes may be served in 
case of a breach of the peace. 

Any service of a civil process upon those who 
keep the seventh day, is held to be a misdemean- 
or. Sunday is reckoned from midnight to mid- 

2i6 Sunday Legislation. 

night. Justices of the peace may receive com- 
plaints, issue processes, and take bail on Sunday. 
"Revised Code of Dakota/* vol. ii, 1883, pp. 439, 
1 142, 1 143. 


Delaware prohibits all worldly employment, 
labor, or business, under penalty of four dollars 
fine ; failure to pay which, with costs, subjects to 
imprisonnient for twenty-four hours, or less. All 
kinds of traveling and the exposure of any kind of 
goods for sale, incurs a penalty of eight dollars, 
with imprisonment for twenty-four hours in de- 
fault of payment. Any justice of the peace may 
arrest and detain any one found traveling. Fish- 
ing, fowling, horse-racing, cock-fighting, hunting, 
engaging in any game, play, or dance, incurs a 
fine of four dollars, and imprisonment, as above. 

All forms of liquor-selling are prohibited. 

Justices of the peace have full jurisdiction in 
all cases. 

This law permits works of necessity and 

"Revised Code of Delaware of 1874," pp. 262, 
782, 783. 


Florida prohibits all forms of business, trade, 
or manual labor, with animals or mechanical pow- 
er, except works of necessit}^ or those which are 

United States, 217 

justified by *' accident or circumstance of the oc- 
casion " ; all disposing of goods of any kind, by 
sale or barter, except in emergencies or necessity, 
which may justify selling comforts and neces- 
saries of life, without keeping open doors. Gen- 
eral penalty: twenty to fifty dollars. Employ- 
ment of apprentices or servants illegally incurs a 
penalty of ten dollars. The use of fire-arms for 
hunting or target-shooting is prohibited under 
penalty of five, to twenty-five dollars. Fishing 
for shad within the State between sundown on 
Saturday and sunrise on Monday is forbidden. 

McLellan's '' Digest ** (official) of 1881, pp. 425, 


Georgia prohibits keeping open tippling- 
houses, day or night ; running of freight-trains, 
except those carrying live-stock, which may run 
to usual points for water and feed ; it permits 
trains running Saturday night to run to destina- 
tion, if schedule time is not later than 8 A. M., on 
Sunday ; all forms of business and labor, except 
works of necessity and mercy ; all hunting with 
dogs or guns, or both, are forbidden. 

All misdemeanors under the Sunday law are 
finable in any sum under one thousand dollars, or 
imprisonment not to exceed six months, or hard 
labor in chain-gang, not to exceed twelve months. 
One or more of these penalties may be ordered at 
the discretion of the court. 

2i8 Sunday Legislation, 

Bathing on Sunday, in sight of any highway 
leading to or from any house of worship, incurs a 
fine not exceeding five hundred dollars, or impris- 
onment in county jail not to exceed six months. 

"Georgia State Code,'' L. R. & H., of 1882, pp. 
1184, 1196, 1197. 

/ Idaho Territory. 

** No shop-keeper, merchant, saloon-keeper, or 
other person, except apothecaries and druggists, 
shall keep open the front door of any shop, store, 
saloon, or other place of business, between the 
hours of ten o'clock in the forenoon, and three 
o'clock in the afternoon," under penalty of fine 
from twenty to fifty dollars. 

Nearly all civil processes are permitted in case 
of emergency. 

" Revised Statutes of Idaho of 1 874-^75,*' pp, 
844, 845. 


Whoever keeps open any tippling-house or 
place where liquor is sold or given away, upon 
the first day of the week, commonly called Sun- 
day, shall be fined not exceeding two hundred 
dollars. Sunday shall include the time from mid- 
night to midnight. ' 

Whoever disturbs the peace and good order 
of society by labor (works of necessity and charity 
excepted), or by any amusement or diversion, on 

United States, 219 

Sunday, shall be fined not exceeding twenty-five 
dollars. This does not apply to watermen or rail- 
roads, as to *4anding their passengers," nor to 
watermen as to '' loading and unloading their 
cargoes," or to ferrymen, or to persons removing 
their families ; nor does it prevent the '' due exer- 
cise of the rights of conscience by whoever thinks 
proper to keep any other day as a Sabbath." 
Disturbing a private family incurs a fine of 
twenty-five dollars. 

Contracts made on Sunday are valid. Writs 
may be served on emergency. Injunctions may 
be served in case of urgent necessity. 

"Revised Statutes of 1880,*' p. 396. Also, ''An- 
notated Statutes," S. & B., pp. 316, 824, 1289. 


Whoever, being over fourteen years of age, is found, 
on the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday, 
rioting, hunting, fishing, quarreling, at common labor, or 
engaged in his usual avocation (works of charity and 
necessity only excepted), shall be fined in any sum not 
more than ten nor less than one dollar ; but nothing 
herein contained shall be construed to affect such as 
conscientiously observe the seventh day of the week as 
the Sabbath, travelers, families removing, keepers of toll- 
bridges and toll-gates and ferrymen acting as such. 

Attachments may be served where the debtor 
is about to abscond. Executions may be issued 
when plaintiff fears loss of judgment. Civil pro- 

220 Sunday Legislation. 

cess may be issued, when its object would other- 
wise be defeated. 

Recognizance of legal papers is valid. Selling, 
giving away, or bartering intoxicating liquors in- 
curs a fine from ten to fifty dollars and imprison- 
ment from ten to sixty days. 

^'Revised Statutes of 1881," pp. 133, 176, 277, 
322, 37S» 395- 


If any person be found on the first day of the week, 
commonly called Sabbath, engaged in any riot, fighting, 
or offering to fight, hunting or shooting, carrying fire- 
arms, fishing, horse-racing, dancing, or in any manner 
disturbing any worshiping assembly or private family, or 
in buying or selling property of any kind, or in any 
labor, the work of necessity and charity only excepted, 
every person so offending shall, on conviction, be fined 
in a sum not more than five dollars, nor less than one 
dollar, to be recovered before any justice of the peace in 
the county where such offense is committed, and shall be 
committed to the jail of said county until the said fine, 
together with the costs of prosecution, shall be paid ; but 
nothing herein contained shall be construed to extend 
to those who conscientiously observe the seventh day 
of the week as the Sabbath, or to prevent persons travel- 
ing, or families emigrating from pursuing their journey, 
or keepers of toll-bridges, toll-gates, and ferrymen from 
attending the same. 

" Revised Statutes of Iowa of 1886," pp. 971, 972. 

United States, 221 


All labor, in person or by proxy, except works 
of daily and general necessity and of charity, is 
forbidden, and finable twenty dollars or less. 
Observers of Saturday and ferrymen are ex- 
empted. Horse-racing, cock-fighting, and games 
of all kinds incur penalty, not exceeding fifty dol- 
lars. Sale, or exposure for sale, of goods, mer- 
chandise, fermented or distilled liquors (drugs, 
medicines, provisions, or other articles for imme- 
diate use excepted) incurs a fine of fifty dollars 
or less. Civil service, in a matter of habeas corpus, 
is permitted on emergency. Those who observe 
Saturday are free from civil service on that day, 
and any effort to serve process on such is punish- 
able. Hunting and shooting are finable from five 
to twenty dollars. 

** Compiled Laws of Kansas (Dassler), 1885," pp. 
358, 813, and "Session Laws of 1886," p. 138. 


Prosecutions for . . . Sabbath-breaking . . . shall 
be commenced within six months after the offense is 
committed, and not after. 

No work or business shall be done on the Sabbath- 
day, except the ordinary household offices or other work 
of necessity or charity. If any person on the Sabbath- 
day shall himself be found at his own or any other trade 
or calling, or shall employ his apprentices or other per- 
son in labor or other business, whether the same be for 

222 Sunday Legislation. 

profit or amusement, unless such as is permitted above, 
he shall be fined not less than two, nor more than fifty 
dollars for each offense. Every person or apprentice so 
employed shall be deemed a separate offense. Persons 
who are members of a religious society who observe as a 
Sabbath any other day in the week than Sunday shall 
not be liable to the penalty prescribed in this section, if 
they observe as a Sabbath one day in each seven, as 
herein prescribed. 

If any person shall hunt game with a gun or dogs on 
the Sabbath-day, he shall be fined not less than five nor 
more than fifty dollars for each offense. 

That no game shall be permitted to be played on 
such (billiard) table, on the Sabbath-day, under the pen- 
alty of an absolute forfeiture of the license. 

" General Statutes of Kentucky (B. and F.), 1881," 
pp. 344, 747. 


Louisiana had no Sunday law until June, 1886. 
The following law was then passed : 

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State 
of Louisiana, that from and after the 31st day of Decem- 
ber, A. D. t886, all stores, shops, saloons, and all places 
of public business, which are or may be licensed under 
the law of the State of Louisiana, or under any parochial 
or municipal law or ordinance, and all plantation-stores, 
are hereby required to be closed at twelve o'clock on 
Saturday nights, and to remain closed continuously for 
twenty-four (24) hours, during which period of time it 
shall not be lawful for the proprietors thereof to give, 

United States. 223 

trade, barter, exchange, or sell any of the stock or any 
article of merchandise kept in any such establishment. 

Be it further enacted, etc., that whosoever shall vio- 
late the provisions of this act, for each offense shall be 
deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on trial and con- 
viction, shall pay a fine of not less than twenty-five dol- 
lars, nor more than two hundred and fifty dollars, or be 
imprisoned for not less than ten days nor more than 
thirty days, or both, at the discretion of the court ; pro- 
visions of this act shall not apply to newsdealers, keepers 
of soda-fountains, places of resort for recreation and 
health, watering-places or public parks, nor prevent the 
sale of ice. 

Be it further enacted, etc., that the provisions of this 
act shall not apply to newspaper-offices, printing-offices, 
book-stores, drug-stores, apothecary-shops, undertaker's 
shops, public and private markets, bakeries, dairies, 
livery-stables, railroads, whether steam or horse, hotels, 
boarding-houses, steam-boats and other vessels, ware- 
houses for receiving and forwarding freights, restaurants, 
telegraph offices and theatres or any place of amusement, 
providing no intoxicating liquors are sold on the prem- 
ises ; provided, that stores may be opened for the pur- 
pose of selling anything necessary in sickness and for 
burial purposes ; provided that nothing in this act shall 
be construed so as to allow hotels or boarding-houses to 
sell or dispose of alcoholic liquors, except wine for table 
use, on Sundays ; and provided further that no alcoholic, 
vinous or malt liquors shall be given, traded, or bartered 
or sold or delivered in any public place on said day, 
except when actually administered or prescribed by a 
practicing physician in the discharge of his professional 
duties in case of sickness ; in such case the physicians 

2 24 Sunday Legislation. 

administering the intoxicating liquors may charge there- 

Be it further enacted, etc., that all laws or parts of 
laws contrary to or inconsistent with the provisions here- 
of, be, and the same are hereby, repealed. (^' Acts of 
Louisiana of 1886," pp. 28, 29.) 


Maine prohibits as follows : 

Whoever, on the Lord's day, keeps open his shop, 
work-house, warehouse, or place of business, travels or 
does any work, labor, or business on that day, except 
works of necessity or charity ; uses any sport, game, or 
recreation ; or is present at any dancing or public diver- 
sion, show or entertainment encouraging the same, shall 
be punished by a fine not exceeding ten dollars. 

Sunday by statute extends from twelve o'clock 
Saturday night to twelve o'clock on Sunday night. 
Those who observe the seventh day are allowed 
to work on Sunday. 

Inn-keepers and victualers who permit strangers 
or lodgers to drink, idle, play, or perform secular 
work on their premises are finable four dollars for 
each person ; on second conviction ten dollars or 
less ; the third conviction annuls their license. 
Each guest so offending is also finable to the 
amount of four dollars. 

The hunting or destroying of birds or other 
game is prohibited. No civil process can be legal- 
ly served, and the person attempting to serve one 

United States. 225 

is liable for damages. All contracts made on Sun- 
day are void, though the date alone is not suffi- 
cient testimony. No one may plead a contract 
void without restoring the consideration. Tyth- 
ingmen, or any other person may prosecute vio- 
lators, within six months. 

"Revised Statutes of Maine of 1883," pp. 330, 
687, 710, 906, 907. 


All forms of bodily labor by self or by others 
are prohibited, except necessity and charity ; all 
gaming, fishing, fowling, hunting, and unlawful 
pastimes or recreations, under fine of five dollars. 
Catching oysters on Sunday, day or night, is 
finable from fifty to five hundred dollars. Sell- 
ing, or otherwise disposing of tobacco, cigars, 
candy, soda or mineral waters, spirituous or fer- 
mented liquors of any kind, or any other goods or 
chattels, incurs a fine of from twenty to fifty dol- 
lars for first offense ; for second offense, from fifty 
to five hundred dollars, together with imprison- 
ment from ten to thirty days, and the loss of 
** license,** which can not be renewed for twelve 
months, to the party offending, or for the place 
where offense has been so committed. 

Any person convicted more than twice shall, 

for each occasion, suffer imprisonment from thirty 

to sixty days, and shall be fined double the sum 

last imposed, and suffer loss of " license ** for two 

226 Sunday Legislation. 

years. Dealers in milk and ice, and their custom- 
ers, and apothecaries putting up bo7ta-fide prescrip- 
tions, are exempt. 

It is also forbidden to open or use any dancing- 
saloon, barber-shop, opera-house, or ten-pin alley, 
under penalty of fift}' to one hundred dollars for 
first offense ; and from one to five hundred for the 
second offense, with imprisonment from ten to 
thirty days ; for each conviction after the second, 
the fine is double the one last paid, with imprison- 
ment from thirty to sixty days. In 1886, the per- 
mission to deliver ice was repealed. 

"Revised Statutes of 1878,'' pp. 148, 811, 812. 


Massachusetts prohibits all traveling, all work, 
labor, or business, and all opening of business 
places-— necessity and charity excepted — and all 
attendance on, or participation in, any sport, 
game, or play, under penalty not to exceed ten 
dollars. Prohibition of traveling does not consti- 
tute a defense in case of *' tort or injury '' suffered 
by one traveling. 

No place of public entertainment may entertain 
any except travelers, strangers, or lodgers, nor 
allow any person to loiter, idle, play, or do secular 
work on or about their premises, under penalty of 
fifty dollars, or less, for each person so entertained 
or permitted ; after second offense, one hundred 
dollars, or less ; and for third offense, the offender 

United States. 227 

is rendered unable to hold a license, in addition to 
the fine. Whoever is present at any public game 
or diversion, sacred concerts excepted, unless the 
same be licensed, is finable five dollars or less. If 
a keeper of any place of public entertainment shall 
entertain, or permit persons not travelers, lodgers, 
or strangers, to drink and spend time in idleness 
on his premises, he incurs a penalty of five dollars 
for each person. 

The serving of a civil process is forbidden, and. 
the party attempting such service is liable for 
damages. Arrests may be made for malicious 
mischief, without warrant. Courts may not open, 
but prisoners may be bailed. Indecent behavior 
in any house of public worship on Sunday incurs 
a fine of ten dollars. Sheriffs, grand jurors, and 
constables are bound to inquire after offenses 
against the Sunday law, and report the same. 
Prosecutions must be made within six months. 
Any person keeping, or suffering to be kept, im- 
plements for gaming, such as are used for hire, 
gain, or reward, shall be fined for first offense not 
exceeding one hundred dollars, or imprisonment 
in house of correction not exceeding six months ; 
for each subsequent offense, imprisonment not 
exceeding one year, together with required sure- 
ties for good behavior. Discharging fire-arms in 
pursuit of game or for amusement, fine, not ex- 
ceeding ten dollars ; the same penalty for fishing, 
in any way. All prosecutions on these points to 
be within thirty days. All sale of liquors, malt 

228 Sunday Legislation. 

or spirituous, is forbidden between the hours of 
12 at night and 6 A. M., except that licensed inn- 
holders may supply liquor to guests. Railroad 
commissioners may authorize such ** through 
trains " as they deem to be a public necessity or 

" Public Statutes of Massachusetts, 1882," pp. 
427, 519-521, 1152, 1191. 

During the session of 1887, the foregoing law- 
was practically annulled by the following amend- 
ments : 

Section i of Chapter 98 of the public statutes is 
hereby amended by striking out in the third line thereof 
the words **or upon the evening next preceding the 
Lord's day." 

Section 2 of said chapter is hereby amended by add- 
ing at the end thereof the following: ^'but nothing in 
this section shall be held to prohibit the manufacture 
and distribution of steam, gas, or electricity for illumi- 
nating purposes, heat, or motive power, nor the distribu- 
tion of water for fire or domestic purposes, nor the use 
of the telegraph or the telephone, nor the retail sale of 
drugs and medicines, nor articles ordered by the pre- 
scription of a physician, nor mechanical appliances used 
by physicians or surgeons, nor the letting of horses and 
carriages, nor the letting of yachts and boats, nor the 
running of steam ferry-boats on established routes, of 
street-railroad cars, nor the preparation, printing, and 
publishing of newspapers, nor the sale and delivery of 
newspapers, nor the retail sale and delivery of milk. 

United States. 


nor the transportation of milk, nor the making of but- 
ter and cheese, nor the keeping open of pubHc bath- 
houses, nor the making or selling by bakers or their em- 
ployes of bread or other food usually dealt in by them 
before ten of the clock in the morning, and between the 
hours of four of the clock and half past six of the clock 
in the evening. 

Section 13 of Chapter 98 of the public statutes is 
hereby amended by striking out the word " travel '* there- 
from, and Section 15 of same chapter is hereby amended 
by striking out the word " through " therefrom, and by 
inserting after *' running," " of such steamboat lines and." 

Section 3 of Chapter 98 of the public statutes, and 
Chapter 82 of the acts of the year 1886, are hereby re- 

Approved June 9, 1887. 

**Acts and Resolves of Massachusetts, 1887," p. 
1000, chap. 391. 


Michigan prohibits keeping open any place of 
business, shop, warehouse, or work-house, or be- 
ing present at, or taking part in, any public di- 
version, show, or entertainment, game, or play. 
Works of necessity and charity, contracts of mar- 
riage, and solemnization of the same are excepted. 
Penalty, ten dollars, or less. 

No place of public entertainment is permitted 
to entertain any but actual travelers, nor permit 
any to be idle, or to play upon the premises, 
under penalty of five dollars for each person so 


230 Sunday Legislation. 

entertained or permitted ; ten dollars for the sec- 
ond offense, and loss of '' license " for third of- 
fense ; every person so abiding or drinking is 
finable five dollars. No one may be present at 
any public gathering — except a religious meeting 
or sacred concert — under penalty of five dollars. 
Civil process served on Sunday is void, and one 
serving it is liable for damages. Time of Sunday, 
from midnight to midnight. Those who observe 
the seventh day may pursue their business with- 
out disturbing others. Interrupting religious 
worship on Sunday incurs penalty from two to 
fifty dollars, or imprisonment for thirty days, or 

All selling of liquor is forbidden. Courts may 
not be opened except to instruct or discharge a 
jury, receive a verdict, or such criminal cases as 
demand immediate action. Game and fish war- 
dens may make arrests on Sunday. 

Howell's "Annotated Statutes of Michigan, 

1882," pp. 543-545, 59S, "^^Z^ ; also, " Session 

Laws of 1887,'' p. 28. 


Minnesota defines Sunday from midnight to 
midnight. Prohibits all labor excepting necessity 
or charity, which includes '' whatever is needful 
during the day for the good order, health, or com- 
fort of the community.'' Prohibits all shooting, 
hunting, fishing, horse-racing, gaming, or other 

United States. 231 

public sports, exercises, or shows, and all noise 
disturbing the peace of the day : 

All trades, manufactures, and mechanical employ- 
ments, except that when the same are works of neces- 
sity, they may be performed on that day in their usual 
and orderly manner, so as not to interfere with the re- 
pose and religious liberty of the community : 

All manner of public selling or offering for sale of 
any property, except that articles of food may be sold 
and supplied at any time before ten o'clock in the morn- 
ing, and except also that meals may be sold to be eaten 
on the premises where sold or served elsewhere by 
caterers ; and prepared tobacco in places other than 
where spirituous or malt liquors or wines are kept or of- 
fered for sale : and fruit, confectionery, newspapers, 
drugs, medicines, and surgical appliances may be sold in 
a quiet and orderly manner at any time of the day : 

All service of legal process of any kind, except in 
cases of breach of the peace, or apprehended breach of 
the peace when sued out for the apprehension of a per- 
son charged with crime, or except where such service is 
specially authorized by statute. 

Sabbath-breaking is a misdemeanor, punishable by a 
fine not less than one dollar and not more than ten dol- 
lars, or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding 
five days, or by both. 

" General Statutes of Minnesota, 1883,*' p. 922. 


Mississippi prohibits all labor and business, in 
person, or by proxy, except household duties, and 

232 Sunday Legislation. 

works of necessity and charity, under penalty of 
twenty dollars, or less. Railroading and steam- 
boating are exempt. No place of business, shop, 
or store, except apothecaries' and druggists', may 
be opened for sale or barter, under same penalty 
as above. All sorts of public shows and games, 
horse-racing, and the like, are prohibited under 
penalty of fifty dollars, or less. Hunting or fish- 
ing, in any way, incurs a penalty of from five to 
twenty dollars. Any licensed place where liquors 
are sold, keeping open, incurs a penalty of fifty to 
one hundred dollars. 

Attachments may be issued and executed on 
Sunday. Injunctions may be granted and served, 
and all remedial processes may be undertaken, 
according to the judgment of the judge or chan- 

"Revised Code of Mississippi, 1880," pp. 524, 
669, 769, 770. 


Every person who shall either labor himself, or com- 
pel or permit his apprentice, or servant, or any other 
person under his charge or control, to labor or perform 
any work other than the household offices of daily neces- 
sity, or other works of necessity or charity, or who 
shall be guilty of hunting game or shooting on the first 
day of the week, commonly called Sunday, shall be 
deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and fined not exceed- 
ing fifty dollars. 

The last section shall not extend to any person who 

United States. 233 

is a member of a religious society by whom any other 
than the first day of the week is observed as a Sabbath, 
so that he observes such Sabbath ; nor to prohibit any 
ferry-man from crossing passengers on any day of the 

Every person who shall be convicted of horse-racing, 
cock-fighting, or playing at cards or games of any kind, 
on the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday, 
shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and fined not 
exceeding fifty dollars. 

Every person who shall expose for sale any goods, 
wares, or merchandise, or shall keep open any ale or 
porter house, grocery or tippling shop, or shall sell or 
retail any fermented or distilled liquor on the first day 
of the week, commonly called Sunday, shall, on con- 
viction, be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor, and fined 
not exceeding fifty dollars. 

The last section shall not be construed to prevent the 
sale of any drugs or medicines, provisions or other arti- 
cles of immediate necessity. 

"Revised Statutes of Missouri, 1879,*' p. 274, 


Montana prohibits open play-houses, theatres, 
dance-houses, prize-rings, race-courses, or banking- 
games at cards, on Sunday, under penalty of from 
one to one hundred dollars, or imprisonment in 
county jail from one to thirty days, or both. 

"Codified Statutes of Montana of 1871-72," 
p. 302. 

234 Sunday Legislation. 


In Nebraska, no court can be opened, nor can 
any judicial business be transacted, except to give 
instructions to a jury then deliberating on their 
verdict ; to receive a verdict, or discharge a jury ; 
to exercise the powers of a single magistrate in a 
criminal proceeding. 

Every person who shall sell or give away any 
malt, spirituous, or vinous liquors, at any time 
during the first day of the week, shall forfeit and 
pay for every such offense the sum of one hundred 

If any person of the age of fourteen years or 
upward shall be found on the first day of the 
week sporting, rioting, quarreling, hunting, fish- 
ing, or shooting, he or she shall be fined in a sum 
not exceeding twenty dollars, or be confined in 
the county jail for a term not exceeding twenty 
days, or both, at the discretion of the court. Any 
person of the age of fourteen years or upward 
found on the first day of the week at common 
labor (work of necessity and charity only ex- 
cepted), may be fined in any sum not exceeding 
five dollars nor less than one dollar ; provided, 
nothing herein contained shall be construed to 
extend to those who conscientiously do observe 
the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath, nor 
to prevent families emigrating from traveling, 
watermen from landing their passengers, super- 
intendents or keepers of toll-bridges or toll-gates 

United States. 235 

from attending and superintending the same, or 
ferry-men from conveying travelers over the 
water, or persons moving their families on such 
days, or to prevent railway companies from run- 
ning necessary trains. 

"Compiled Statutes of Nebraska of 1887," pp. 
328, 498, 839, 912. 

In 1879 cities of the first class were empow- 
ered to regulate Sunday observance within their 
own borders. 

"Laws of 1879/* P- 9^- 


Nevada prohibits all open play-houses, theatres, 
race-courses, and all games of chance for gain, and 
all noisy amusements on Sunday. No judicial 
business is allowed, except where juries have a 
case in charge. Civil service may be executed in 
cases demanding immediate attention. The pen- 
alty for violation is a fine of not less than thirty 
nor more than two hundred dollars. 

*^ General Statutes of Nevada, 1885," pp. 1077, 

New Hampshire. 

No person shall do any work, business, or 
labor of his secular calling, to the disturbance of 
others, works of necessity and charity excepted, 
on the first day of the week, commonly called the 

236 Sunday Legislation. 

Lord's day ; nor shall any person use any play 
game, or recreation on that day or any part there- 
of " ; the penalty being a fine of six dollars. 

No person shall keep open his shop, ware- 
house, cellar, restaurant, or workshop for the re- 
ception of compan)^ or shall sell or expose for 
sale any merchandise whatsoever on the first day 
of the week, commonly called the Lord's day ; but 
this section shall not be construed to prevent the 
sale of bread from bakeries, or drugs and medi- 
cines," or the entertaining of boarders, or the sale 
of milk and other necessaries of life. The general 
penalty is a fine of ten dollars or thirty days' im- 
prisonment, or both. 

Sunday by decision extends from midnight to 

"Revised Statutes of New Hampshire of 1878/' 
pp. 617, 618 ; and " Laws of 1883," p. 62. 

New Jersey. 

The Sunday law of New Jersey is very elab- 

It prohibits all traveling and all worldly busi- 
ness on land or water, necessity and charity ex- 
cepted ; all shooting, hunting, fishing, in all forms 
— with extra penalties for seine-fishing — all gam- 
ing, and all kinds of games or diversions, under 
penalty of one dollar. Exposing or offering any- 
thing for sale incurs a penalty of ten dollars. In 
default of fine, or when the same is not collectable, 

United States. 237 

imprisonment under ten days. Persons traveling 
for business purposes may be stopped by any con- 
stable or other citizen, and detained till next day. 
Railroads may run one passenger-train each way, 
^ to accommodate the people of the State. No 
freighting is allowed, except of milk. Ferry-boats 
may make regular trips. No private transporta- 
tion is allowed by wagons or vehicles of any kind. 
No stage may be driven through any part of the 
State for ordinary purposes, without being sub- 
ject to arrest and detention until Monday, at ex- 
pense of the owner, and a fine of eight dollars. 

Civil service not allowed except in criminal 
cases and breach of the peace, disorderly persons, 
and men charged with bastardy. Any effort to 
serve papers not excepted makes one liable to 
action for damages. 

Those who observe the seventh day are ex- 
empt from the general provisions concerning 
labor, if their labor be done on their own premises, 
and without disturbing others ; also from civil 
service, except in criminal cases ; from labor on 
highways, and from military duty on Saturday. 
They may not openly expose merchandise for sale 
on Sunday. 

The selling of liquors on Sunday, under a gen- 
eral license, makes one liable to arrest for keeping 
a ^' disorderly house,'* with such pains and penal- 
ties as those imposed on '' keepers of gambling- 
houses, houses of prostitution, and other common 
nuisances/' Inns and taverns are forbidden to 

238 Sunday Legislation. 

sell any intoxicating liquors, under the same pen- 
alty as for selling without a license on other days, 
and an added fine not exceeding twenty dollars 
and costs of prosecution. Hunting with any 
weapons, with or without dogs, or taking game in 
any trap or snare or devise, incurs a penalty of 
twenty-five dollars for every offense. Those who 
keep Saturday may hunt on their own premises. 
"Revised Statutes of New Jersey, 1877," pp. 238, 
450, 495, 1227-1231, 1234; also, "Session 
Laws of 1884," p. 218, and of 1885, p. 179. 

New Mexico. 

Any person or persons who shall be found on the 
first day of the week, called Sunday, engaged in any 
games or sports, or in horse-racing, cock-fighting, danc- 
ing, or in any other manner disturbing any worshiping 
assembly, or private family, or in buying or selling any 
goods, wares, or merchandise, chattels or liquors, or any 
other kind of property, or in holding or attending any 
public meeting or public exhibition, except for religious 
worship or instruction ; or engage in any labor, except 
works of necessity, charity, or mercy ; or who shall keep 
open any store, shop, or office, or other place of business, 
or place for the display of goods, wares, or merchandise, 
shall be punished by a fine not exceeding fifty dollars, 
nor less than ten dollars, for the first offense, and for the 
second or any subsequent offense, by a fine of not less 
than twenty-five dollars, nor more than one hundred dol- 
lars, or by imprisonment of not less than five, nor more 
than twenty days, in the discretion of the court or jus- 

United States. 


tice, upon conviction before any district court, or justice 
of the peace ; one half to the court, and one-half to the 
school fund. 

Provided, that travelers, keepers of ferry-boats, livery- 
stables, hotels and restaurants, and barbers, may pursue 
their vocation ; and that butchers and bakers may sell 
meat and bread and like articles, but not liquors or gen- 
eral merchandise ; apothecaries may sell and deliver 
drugs, medicines, and surgical instruments on that day. 

It shall always be lawful to irrigate fields, or to re- 
move grain and other products, in cases of necessity. 
Civil process may not be served, except in cases where 
there is liability to loss or serious inconvenience. 

Time of Sunday, " sunrise to midnight of the same 

"Compiled Laws of New Mexico of 1884," pp. 
490, 491. 

New York. 

Under the general Sunday law of New York, 
no civil process, warrant, etc., can be served or 
executed, except in cases of real or apprehended 
*' breach of the peace," or such crimes and misde- 
meanors as are connected with the law itself. It 
also provides that *' there shall be no sporting, 
hunting, fishing, playing, horse-racing, frequenting 
tippling-houses, or unlawful exercises or pastimes, 
on the first day of the week, called Sunday ; nor 
shall any person travel on that day, unless in cases 
of charity or necessity, or in going to or from 
some church or place of public worship within 

240 Sunday Legislation. 

the distance of twenty miles, or in going for medi- 
cal aid or medicines, or in visiting the sick and 
returning ; or in carrying the mail of the United 
States, or in going express by order of some pub- 
lic officer, or in removing one's family or house- 
hold furniture when such removal was com- 
menced on some other day. Nor shall there be 
any servile labor or recreation or working on that 
day, except works of necessity and mercy, unless 
done by some person who uniformly keeps the 
last day of the week, called Saturday, as holy 

The penalty for each offense is one dollar in the case 
of persons over fourteen years of age. 

The selling of goods, fruits, herbs, etc., on Sunday, 
except meats, milk, and fish, before nine o'clock, is for- 
bidden. Articles exposed for sale on that day are for- 
feited for the use of the poor, etc. 

No keeper of any inn or tavern, or of any ale or 
porter house, or grocery, or any person authorized to 
retail strong or spirituous drinks, shall on Sunday sell or 
dispose of any ale, porter, strong or spirituous drinks, 
except to lodgers or persons legally traveling on that day 
according to law, under penalty of two dollars and a half 
for each offense. 

A law of special application to the city of New 
York, passed in i860, forbids various kinds of ex- 
hibitions on Sunday, under heavy penalties. 

A law passed in 1872 forbids processions on 
Sunday, except funeral processions and such as go 

United States. 241 

from churches in connection with religious serv- 
ices there, on penalty of twenty dollars. 

A special act forbids '' shooting, hunting, or 
trapping " on Sunday, under penalty of not less 
than ten dollars, nor more than twenty-five, for 
each offense, or imprisonment for not less than 
five nor more than twenty days. 

Those who conscientiously observe Saturday 
are free from the general law against labor, as 
noted above. They are also free from jury duty 
and from military service on that day, except in 
cases of public peril. Any person who know- 
ingly or maliciously procures the service of a civil 
process upon one keeping Saturday from a jus- 
tice's court, or makes one returnable on that day, 
is made subject to a fine of one hundred dollars, 
or imprisonment for thirty days, or both. 

Prosecutions under the Sunday law must be 
made within twenty days. Civil process may be 
served in special cases and emergencies. 

" Revised Statutes of New York to 1881/' seventh 
edition, vol. iii, 1882, pp. 1975, 1976, 2106, 
2148, and vol. i, p. 732. 

In 1882, a special act, covering the city and 
county of New York, was passed, forbidding all 
shows — theatrical, operatic, etc. — under penalty 
of five hundred dollars, and other penalties con- 
nected with the occupancy of the property where 
such shows are held ; also one against noisy pa- 
rades and processions on Sunday, under penalty 

242 Sunday Legislation. 

of twenty dollars or less, or imprisonment ten 
days or less, as the court may adjudge. 

" Session Laws of New York, 1882," pp. 472, 484. 

In 1883 the Sunday law of New York State 
was much weakened by several amendments to 
the penal code. Under these amendments '' works 
of necessity and charity include whatever is need- 
ful during the day for the good order, health, or 
comfort of the community. . . . Trades, manufact- 
ures, agricultural or mechanical employments," 
when necessary, may be performed '' in their usual, 
ordinary manner, so as not to interfere with the 
repose and religious liberty of the community. . . . 
Articles of food may be sold and supplied at any 
time before 10 A. M. . . . meals on the premises or 
elsewhere, prepared tobacco, fruit, confectionery, 
newspapers, drugs, medicines, and surgical ap- 
pliances may be sold at any time during the day.'* 

" Session Laws of 1883,*' p, 541. 

In 1885 ^^ ^ct was passed, making it a sufficient 
defense against prosecution for work or labor on 
Sunday, that the offender " uniformly keeps 
another day as holy time, and does not disturb 
others in keeping Sunday holy " 

'^Session Laws of 1885,'' p. 875. 

North Carolina. 

Prohibits all ordinary work or business, on 
land or water, necessity and charity excepted ; all 
hunting, fishing, fowling, games, sports, or plays, 

United States. 243 

by persons above fourteen years of age, under 
penalty of one dollar. No intoxicating liquors, 
malt, distilled, or other, may be sold, except upon 
the prescription of a physician for medicinal pur- 
poses, under fine or imprisonment, at the option of 
the court. 

In 1879 it was enacted that no railroad com- 
pany should run any locomotive or cars within 
the State, except those carrying United States 
mail, or passengers and mails ; this law covered 
the time from sunrise to sunset ; trains in transitu 
being permitted to run until 9 A. M., in order to 
reach usual terminus, or the shops of the com- 
pany. In 1885 similar permission was granted to 
trains made up exclusively of perishable freight 
and live-stock. Loading and unloading freight- 
cars are forbidden. Railroad officials, offending 
in any of these particulars, may be indicted in each 
county through which the trains pass, and fined 
not less than five hundred dollars for each offense. 
Fishing with nets of any kind not fastened to 
stakes is forbidden except in the counties of Car- 
teret and Onslow (where " established seines " 
may be used), under penalty of two hundred to 
five hundred dollars, or imprisonment for twelve 

" Revised Statutes of North Carolina, 1873,'* p. 

835; "Session Laws of i876-'77,'* pp. 83, 

84 ; " Session Laws of 1879," pp. 182, 359 ; 

"Laws or 1883,** p. 508, and ** Laws of 

1885," pp. 141, 261. 

244 Sunday Legislation. 


Prohibits all persons over fourteen years of age 
from sporting, rioting, quarreling, hunting, fish- 
ing, or shooting on Sunday, under penalty of not 
more than twenty dollars or imprisonment not 
more than twenty days, or both ; complaint to be 
made within ten days. Common labor is forbid- 
den under penalty of not more than five dollars ; 
from this provision are exempted those who con- 
scientiously observe the seventh day, families emi- 
grating, watermen landing passengers, or attend- 
ing toll-bridges. Whoever sells or barters any 
spirituous liquors incurs a fine of five dollars or 
less. Ordinary arrests can not be made on Sun- 

"Revised Statutes of Ohio of 1886," vol. ii, pp. 
1 149, 1463, 1478. 


Prohibits the opening of any place of business 
for labor or traffic, any place of amusement, or 
any tippling-shop, under penalty of five to fifty 
dollars. Open saloons, which are not taverns, 
are forbidden under penalty of ten to twenty-five 
dollars. The general provision excepts drug- 
stores, doctors' shops, undertakers* shops, livery- 
stables, butchers, and bakers. Also, all circum- 
stances of necessity and mercy may be offered in 
defense ; courts may be opened to instruct a de- 
liberating jury, receive a verdict, discharge a jury, 

United States. 245 

or in criminal cases. A civil process is void, and 
an attempt to serve such process is punishable 
by a fine of from five to fifty dollars. 

"Hill's Annotated Laws of Oregon, 1887," pp. 
957i 959» 962. 


Under the general law of Pennsylvania no civil 
process can be served, except in case of treason, 
felony, or breach of the peace. Canals and rail- 
roads can not be compelled to attend their works, 
in order to expedite travel. All worldly labor or 
employment or business whatsoever — necessity 
and charity excepted — is forbidden ; also unlaw- 
ful games, shooting, hunting, or any diversions 
whatsoever, under penalty of four dollars. The 
general provision allows for preparing necessary 
food, landing passengers by water-men, removing 
families in transitUy delivering milk and other ne- 
cessaries of life, before 9 A. M. and after 5 P. M. All 
prosecutions to be made within seventy-two hours. 

Persons found drinking or tippling in public 
houses or places shall pay one shilling and six- 
pence to any constable, on demand, for each of- 
fense ; and all constables are bound to search sus- 
pected places for offenders, and disperse them 
when found. If they refuse, the officer may bring 
them before the nearest justice of the peace, who 
may place them in the stocks, or bind them to 
their good behavior, at will. 

If the keeper of any public place shall counte- 

246 Sunday Legislation. 

nance or tolerate any breaking of the law on his 
premises, he may be arrested on the view of any 
one magistrate, on his own confession, or the testi- 
mony of one witness, and fined ten shillings for 
each offense. Food and drink for travelers and 
lodgers, in moderation, and for refreshment only, 
are excepted, the magistrate to judge what " mod- 
eration '' is, if complaint be made. It is also un- 
lawful to sell, trade, or barter any spirituous, malt, 
or fermented liquors, or for the keeper of any 
public place to allow any one to be drunk on or 
within his premises, under penalty of fifty dollars. 
Hunting, shooting, fishing, and trapping are 
forbidden under penalty of five to twenty-five 
dollars. Court decisions allow justices to make 
forcible entry for a better view of offender ; make 
a conviction valid, though it does not state the 
time when, nor place where the work was done ; 
and refuses exemption to those who observe the 
seventh day. 

" Digest of the Laws of Pennsylvania," Brightiey's 
Purdon, 1883, pp. 835, 1571-1573, 2232, and 
''Criminal Code/' Shields, 1883, pp. 242, 243. 

Rhode Island. 

Prohibits all ordinar}^ labor, business, or work ; 
all games, sports, play, and recreation, or the per- 
mitting of these by parents or guardians — neces- 
sity and charity excepted — under fine of five dol- 
lars for the first offense, and ten for all subsequent 

United States. 247 

offenses ; to employ or encourage the servant of 
another person incurs the same penalties. All 
complaints to be made within ten days. Jews and 
Christians who keep the seventh day may pursue 
their ordinary avocations, but may not open shops 
or stores, or lade, unlade, or fit out vessels, nor 
work at the smith's business or any mechanical 
trade (except in the compact villages in the towns 
of Westerly and Hopkinton), nor fish, nor hunt in 
public places, nor off from their own possessions. 
In case of dispute as to who is entitled to the 
benefit of these exceptions, a certificate from a 
regular pastor or priest, or from any three mem- 
bers of any Sabbath-keeping church or society, 
showing the party to be a regular member of the 
same, shall be conclusive evidence. 

" Revised Statutes of 1882," pp. 6^6, 687. 

South Carolina. 

Prohibits all '' worldly " business, work, or labor 
— necessity and charity excepted — by any person 
of fifteen years or upward, under a penalty of one 
dollar. All goods, wares, fruits, chattels, etc., 
showed forth or cried for sale are forfeited. No 
public sports or pastimes whatever are allowed 
under penalty of one dollar ; trial justices, within 
their respective counties, may summon any of- 
fender on their own view, or confesson of the 
party, or testimony of one or more witnesses ; and 
may seize goods and impose penalties. Persons 

248 Sunday Legislation. 

keeping gaming-tables, and permitting games 
thereon, on Sunday, are liable to fine of fifty dol- 
lars. No civil process may be served except for 
felony, treason, or breach of peace. Railroad 
corporations are prohibited from running trains, 
loading or unloading cars — except mail-trains, and 
construction or other trains made necessary by 
extraordinary emergencies. Trains delayed by 
accident may run to the place where they are ac- 
customed to rest. Willful violation of these pro- 
visions incurs a fine of five hundred dollars. 

*^ General Statutes of South Carolina, 1882," pp. 
203, 442, 443. 483, 434, 728. 


Prohibits all ** common avocations,'' by persons 
or children or servants — real necessity and charity 
excepted — under penalty of three dollars. Hunt- 
ing, fishing, gaming, or being drunk, incurs the 
same penalty. Any justice of the peace may have 
jurisdiction. Any licensed grocer or other per- 
son who retails spirituous liquors on Sunday, is 
"liable to fine or imprisonment at the discretion of 
the court. The constitution of Tennessee pro- 
vides that, in time of peace, no person shall be re- 
quired to perform any public service on any day 
which he observes religiously as a day of rest. 
Private contracts are valid if made outside of 
one's regular business. 

" Code of Tennessee," M. and V., 1884, pp. 397, 

United States. 249 


Prohibits labor by one's self, or compel- 
ling employes or apprentices to labor, under 
penalty of ten to fifty dollars. This clause is 
practically nullified by the next, which is as 
follows : 

The preceding article shall not apply to household 
duties, works of necessity or charity ; nor to necessary 
work on farms or plantations in order to prevent the loss 
of any crop ; nor the running of steamboats and other 
water-crafts, rail-cars, wagon- trains, common carriers, 
nor to the delivery of goods by them, or the receiving or 
storing of said goods by the parties or their agents to 
whom said goods are delivered ; nor to stages carrying 
the United States mail or passengers ; nor to foundries, 
sugar-mills, or herders who have a herd of stock actu- 
ally gathered and under herd ; nor to persons traveling, 
nor to ferry-men or keepers of toll-bridges, keepers of 
hotels, boarding-houses, and restaurants and their serv- 
ants ; nor to keepers of livery-stables and their servants ; 
nor to any person who conscientiously believes that the 
seventh or any other day of the week ought to be ob- 
served as the Sabbath, and who actually refrains from 
business and labor on that day, for religious reasons. 

Horse-racing, bowling, match-shooting, or any 
species of gaming for money, or other considera- 
tions, within the limits of any city or town, incur 
a fine of twenty to fifty dollars. Merchants and 
traders are forbidden to sell or barter goods or 

250 Sunday Legislation. 

wares under the same penalty ; provisions before 
9 A. M. are exempt, and drugs and medicines dur- 
ing the whole day. 

" Revised Statutes of Texas, 1879," Criminal Code, 
pp. 26, 27. 

Utah Territory. 

Prohibits all bull, bear, cock, or prize-fighting ; 
horse-racing, circus shows, open gambling-houses 
or saloons, barbarous or noisy amusements, thea- 
tres, dance-houses, musical or operatic perform- 
ances, spectacles, or representations where wines 
or any intoxicating drinks are sold or given 
away ; also selling or purchasing tickets of ad- 
mission to any such show or entertainment, di- 
rectly or indirectly ; any infringement on these 
provisions is a '' misdemeanor.'' Opening of any 
business place for business purposes incurs a fine 
of from five to one hundred dollars. This pro- 
vision exempts hotels, boarding-houses, baths, 
restaurants, taverns, livery -stables, and retail drug- 
stores, when used for legitimate purposes, and 
manufacturing establishments, which are usually 
kept in continual operation. Unnecessary busi- 
ness or labor incur a fine of twenty dollars or 
less. Time covered, from midnight to mid- 

" Compiled Laws of Utah, 1876," pp. 599, 600. 

United States. 251 

Enacts as follows : 

A person who, between twelve o'clock Saturday night 
and sunset on the following Sunday, exercises any busi- 
ness or employment, except such only as works of neces- 
sity and charity ; or is present at any public assembly, 
except such as is held for social and religious worship 
and moral instruction ; or travels, except from necessity 
or charity ; or visits from house to house, except from 
motives of humanity or charity, or for moral or religious 
edification ; or holds or resorts to any ball or dance, or 
uses or exercises any game, sport, or play ; or resorts to 
any tavern, inn, or house of entertainment for amuse- 
ment or recreation, shall be fined not more than two 

A person who hunts, shoots, or pursues, takes or kills 
wild game or other birds or animals, or discharges fire- 
arms, except in the just defense of person or property, 
or in the performance of military or police duty, on 
Sunday, shall be fined ten dollars, one half to go to the 
person who makes the complaint and one half to the 

Service of legal process is void, except in cases 
of escape, apprehending principal in matters of 
bail, treason, felony, and breach of peace. 

" Revised Laws of Vermont, 1880," pp. 220, 826. 


Prohibits all labor and business in person or by 
proxy — household and other work of necessity 

252 Sunday Legislation. 

and charity excepted — under penalty of two dol- 
lars for each offense. This provision excepts car- 
rying the mails, passengers and their baggage, and 
those who observe the seventh day, if they do not 
disturb others. 

A Sunday liquor law was enacted in 1874; it 
was modified in 1880. It forbids all opening of 
bar-rooms, or other places where liquor is sold, 
between twelve midnight, of Saturday, and sun- 
rise on Monday, under penalty of ten to five hun- 
dred dollars. This does not apply to cities of 
ten thousand inhabitants or upward, since these 
have power to regulate the traffic within their 

In 1884 a law was enacted forbidding all rail- 
road work, running, loading or unloading cars or 
trains, except for the relief of wrecked or disabled 
trains, carrying United States mail, with or with- 
out passengers, passenger trains without mails, 
trains loaded with live-stock, or with perishable 
articles which would be endangered by delay, and 
other freight with perishable goods ; time, sunrise 
to sunrise. Trains starting before midnight on 
Saturday may run until 9 A. M. on Sunday to 
reach terminus, or shops of the company. Pen- 
alty, fifty to one hundred dollars in each county 
or corporation where trains run. 

"Code of Virginia, 1873,'' p. 1209; "Laws of 
1879-80,'* p. 220 ; " Laws of 1883-84/' pp. 
743> 744. 

United States. 253 

Washington Territory. 

Prohibits open theatres, race-courses, cock-pits, 
games of chance for gain, noisy amusements, open 
billiard or drinking saloons, and the sale of intoxi- 
cating liquors as a beverage. Also prohibits all 
judicial business, except in the case of deliberating 
juries ; civil service may be issued in criminal 
cases. Attachments and injunctions may be is- 
sued and served under the civil code, justices*- 
practice act, and probate-practice act. General 
penalty, fine from thirty to two hundred and fifty 

All open places for trade or sale of goods, or 
any business whatever, are forbidden, except 
hotels — these may not sell liquor — drug-stores, 
livery-stables, and undertakers ; penalty, twenty- 
five to one hundred dollars. All public officers 
are bound to report violations of this act to the 
nearest justice of the peace, under penalty of 
twenty-five to one hundred dollars. Law took 
effect in Januar)^ 1882. 

"Washington Code, 1881," pp. 227, 351, 352. 

West Virginia. 

Prohibits all labor or business by one*s self or 
minor children or servants, except household and 
other works of necessity and works of charity, 
under penalty of five dollars for each offense; 
hunting, shooting, or carrying fire-arms openly to 

254 Sunday Legislation. 

the annoyance of the public is punishable by fine 
of from five to twenty dollars. Officers of the 
State or United States, carrying arms lawfully 
are excepted. Transporting of the mails and of 
passengers with their baggage is excepted from 
the foregoing provisions, as are those, also, who 
conscientiously observe the seventh day by ab- 
staining from labor; but they may not compel 
those not of their faith to do secular business, nor 
may they disturb others. No contract is void be- 
cause made on Sunday. No civil process may be 
served, except in case of those escaping from cus- 
tody, or in cases specially provided for by law. 
Attachments may be issued and executed if de- 
fendant is actually removing goods. Matters con- 
nected with *^ inquests '* may be attended to as on 
any other day. Persons holding State license to 
sell liquors who sell or give away liquors on Sun- 
day are guilty of a misdemeanor, and subject to a 
fine of from twenty to one hundred dollars. In 
the matter of adjourning courts, papers coming 
due, etc., Sunday is treated as other legal holi- 

" Code of West Virginia of 1887/' Warth, pp. 237, 
298, 726, 902. 


Prohibits all opening of business places, etc., 
and all manner of labor or business, except necessity 
and charity, and all attendance on, or participating 

United States. 255 

in, any dancing, diversion, show, entertainment, 
game, or play, under penalty of ten dollars or less. 
No civil process can be served or executed. Time 
covered by the law is from midnight to midnight. 
Those observing the seventh day are exempted 
from the general provisions if they do not will- 
fully disturb others. Giving away or selling in- 
toxicating liquors incurs a penalty of from five to 
twenty dollars, or imprisonment in county jail 
thirty days or less, or both. Court decisions for- 
bid collecting the value of liquor sold on Sunday. 
Notices published in Sunday papers are legal. 
Violation of Sunday law forms no defense, in case 
of injury. The public may use highways in case 
of necessity, and every man may judge when it is 
necessary. Contracts made on Sunday can not be 

'^Revised Statutes of Wisconsin, 1878," pp. 471, 

1083, and supplement thereto from 1879 to 

1884, pp. 337, 835, 875. 

Wyoming Territory. 

Wyoming has little legislation concerning 
Sunday. In the general acts against lewdness 
and immorality, the following clause occurs : 

If any person shall be guilty of open lewdness, or 
other notorious act of public indecency, tending to de- 
bauch the public morals ; or shall keep open any gaming- 
house on the Sabbath day or night, he shall, on convic- 

256 Sunday Legislation. 

tion, be fined not exceeding one hundred dollars, or im- 
prisoned in a county jail not exceeding six months. 

The city of Cheyenne is empowered by its 
charter " to close all places of business and amuse- 
ment on Sunday, and to prohibit and suppress the 
sale of spirituous liquors on any day of election." 

" Compiled Laws of Wyoming, 1876/* pp. 181, 



At the opening of 1902 the Sunday laws re- 
main as they appear in the foregoing pages, in 
most of the States. Changes and additions are 
noted below : 


No essential change. 


Forbids the opening of stores, shops, ball-alleys, 
billiard-rooms or tippling-houses for the purpose 
of labor, traffic, or amusement. Drug-stores, un- 
dertakers, livery-stables, barbers, butchers, bak- 
ers, and works of necessity and mercy excepted. 
(Carter's '' Alaska Code," p. 30.) 

No essential change. 

No change. 

No change. 

18 257 

258 Sunday Legislation. 


In 1893 barbering was forbidden, but on trial 
in the lower courts the act was held unconstitu- 
tional. Decisions by appellate courts not yet 
reached. (''Session Laws of 1893," p. 221.) All 
places where liquors are sold or otherwise dis- 
posed of are closed from twelve o'clock midnight 
on Saturday until 6 A. M. on Monday following. 
C' 3 Mills' Statutes," p. 372.) 

Municipal corporations must regard State laws 
concerning sale of liquors. Minor decisions con- 
cerning sale of liquors have been made, not affect- 
ing general law. 


In 1889 a law was passed forbidding action to 
break any contract made on Sunday, until the 
party receiving a valuable consideration under 
the contract should restore the same. In the same 
year the railroad commissioners were empow- 
ered to permit the handling of freight and the 
transferring of the same from steamboats to rail 
road trains, previous to 8 A. M., at any place where 
*' public necessity or preservation of freight de- 
mands." C' Session Laws," pp. 14 and ^2^ In 
1895 railroads were forbidden to transport pas- 
sengers on Sunday for less than the regular fare 
collected on week days. ('' Session Laws," p. 506.) 
In 1897 the general statute was amended so as to 
read as follows : '' Every person who shall do any 

Changes from 1888 to igo2. 259 

secular business or labor, except works of neces- 
sity or mercy, or keep open any shop, warehouse, 
or manufacturing or mechanical establishment, or 
expose any property for sale, or engage in any 
sport between twelve o'clock Saturday night and 
twelve o'clock Sunday night, shall be fined not 
more than $50.00." (" Session Laws," p. 883.) In 
1899 the railroad commissioners were empowered, 
** on the ground of public necessity," to authorize 
the running of mail trains or any other trains be- 
tween 10.30 A. M. and 3 P. M. ('' Session Laws," p. 
1,009.) I^ 1901, all shooting or hunting, or pos- 
sessing shooting implements in the open air was 
forbidden. This act included also the digging of 
clams, and the use of nets for fishing between 
*' sunset Saturday evening and sunset on the fol- 
lowing Sunday evening, prior to June 20th in each 
year." ('* Session Laws," pp. 1 277-1 289-1 287.) 


The territorial law of Dakota passed into the 
States of North and South Dakota with little or 
no change. In South Dakota, selling or giving 
away liquor on Sunday is a misdemeanor, whether 
done on land or on vessels stopping at any wharf 
or landing. (*^ Penal Code," Sections 8184-8185.) 


No essential change, although barbering has 
been forbidden. 

26o Sunday Legislation. 

No essential change. 


Minor changes have been made relative to the 
running of railroad trains. In 1892 a law permit- 
ting freight trains on the Georgia Railroad was 
repealed. In 1897 slight changes were made 
touching stock and fruit trains. In 1899 the law 
extended the right to run Sunday trains to roads 
having thirty miles of line within the State. In 
1898 the use of firearms, except in the defense of 
person or property, was forbidden. (*' Session 
Laws of 1897,'' p. 38 ; 1898, p. 107; 1899, P- ^8.) 

No change. 


In 1895 a law closing barber-shops was enacted, 
but it has been held to be unconstitutional. ('* Illi- 
nois Reports,'' 161, p. 296.) 

No essential change. 

Indian Territory. 

All labor forbidden except daily necessity, 
comfort, or charity ; vessels navigating waters in 
the State, manufacturing establishments requir- 

Changes from 1888 to igo2. 261 

ing constant operation, and persons observing 
Saturday, excepted. Opening any place for the 
sale of goods or liquors, horse-racing, cock-fight- 
ing, and all similar amusements ; all card-playing 
and gambling with cards; all shooting for amuse- 
ment or hunting for game forbidden. Penalties 
vary to fit crimes. ('' Indian Territory Statutes 
of 1899,*' pp. 241-242). 

No essential change. 

No change. 


No important change, but municipalities in 
Campbell County were given full power concern- 
ing Sunday observance in 1890, and barbering 
was prohibited in 1892. 


One minor change was made in 1900. ("Ses- 
sion Laws,'* p. 113.) 


In 1895 the general law was amended to pro- 
tect rights or remedy of either party in any ac- 
tion for tort or injury. ('^ Session Laws,*' p. 142.) 
In 1899 Sunday was made a closed day for the 

262 Sunday Legislation. 

killing of birds, etc., and all hunting was pro- 
hibited. ('* Session Laws," pp. 36, 42.) 


Minor local laws concerning hunting in 1890 
and 1896. 


This State has been quite a storm center for 
agitation concerning Sunday laws during the last 
decade, and more has been done through the 
Bureau of Statistics to secure accurate knowledge 
as to the amount and character of labor oh Sun- 
day than in any other State. The changes made 
have lessened the rigidity of the older laws, and 
adjusted their provisions to the prevailing tenden- 
cies of the present time. 

In 1895 the general law was amended. Under 
it, attendance at any sport, game, play, or public 
diversion, except sacred concerts, keeping open 
any business place or doing any work, except of 
necessity and charity, or taking part in any sport, 
game, play, or public diversion, except sacred 
concerts, is forbidden ; fine $50 or less. 

This law excepts the manufacture and distri- 
bution of steam, gas, and electricity, the distribu- 
tion of water, the use of telegraph and telephone, 
the retailing of drugs, medicines, and articles pre- 
scribed by a physician or used by ph3'sicians or 
surgeons ; also the letting of horses, carriages, 
and boats, the running of steam-ferries and rail- 

Changes from 1888 to igo2. 263 

road cars, the printing, publishing, and selling of 
newspapers, the sale of milk, wholesale and retail, 
the transportation of milk, the making of butter 
and cheese, the keeping open of public bath- 
houses, and the manufacture and sale of bakers' 
products before 10 a. m. and from 4 to 6 p. M. 
y" The authorities of cities and towns are pro- 
hibited from licensing theatres, public shows, etc. ; 
sacred concerts and free public concerts given by 
cities or towns are permitted. (''Laws of 1895,'' 
chap. 434.) 

In 1897 it was enacted that " The Board of 
Railroad Commissioners may, when in their opin- 
ion the public necessity, convenience, health, or 
welfare require, authorize the running of steam- 
boats on the Lord's day ; and the running so au- 
thorized may be for the entire year or any part 
thereof. They may impose on managers of such 
steamboats such conditions as they may deem ju- 
dicious to prevent disorderly conduct or the dis- 
turbance of public worship, and they may revoke 
at any time, in their discretion, the authority or 
license by them granted to such managers." 
(''Session Laws of 1897,'' chap. 389.) 

In 1899 Sunday was made a "close day'* for 
birds and other game. In 1900 the sale of to- 
bacco, in any form, by licensed innholders, com- 
mon victualers, druggists, and newsdealers, was 
legalized ; and in 1901 bootblacking was made 
lawful until 11 A. M. (" Laws of 1899," chap. 116; 
of 1900, chap. 440; of 1901, chap. 80.) 

264 Sunday Legislation. 


In 1893 barbering was prohibited "except in 
relation to a deceased person/' Barbers keeping 
Saturday were excepted. ('' Session Laws," p. 


In 1891 slight changes were made in the pen- 
alties under general law. In 1895 selling or dis- 
posing of liquor in any way was forbidden under 
heavy penalties. ('* Session Laws," chap. 90.) 

In 1899 the Commissioner of Labor was di- 
rected and required to investigate the subject 
of Sunday labor with respect to the number of 
persons employed, the conditions of employment, 
and other facts relating thereto. ('' Laws of 1899," 
chap. 148.) 


No essential change. 

No essential change. 

In 1895 barbering was forbidden under severe 
penalties. (See ** Session Laws.") 

In 1893 cities were given full power to make 
local laws touching Sunday. (** Session Laws," 
chap. 19.) 

Changes from 1888 to igo2. 265 

No change. 

New Hampshire. 
No essential change. 

New Jersey. 

In 1893 the making and selling of newspapers, 
selling and delivering milk, walking or driving 
for recreation, and hiring conveyances for that 
purpose, were legalized; but corporations were 
permitted to make local regulations under this 
general law. ('* Session Laws,*' p. 38.) 

New Mexico. 
No change. 

New York. 

In 1895 Section 276, Penal Code, was amended 
forbidding all processions and parades on Sun- 
day in any city, except funeral processions for the 
actual burying of the dead, and processions to and 
from a place of worship, in connection with a reli- 
gious service there celebrated. In these excepted 
cases music, firearms, fireworks, and disturbing 
noises were prohibited. In case of military funer- 
als music permitted while escorting the body, but 
not within one block of any place of worship 
where services are being celebrated. Penalty 
not exceeding $20, or imprisonment not exceed- 

266 Sunday Legislation. 

ing ten days. ("Session Laws of 1895/* vol. i, p 


This law is continued in force under Charter 

of Greater New York. ('' Session Laws of 1901/' 

vol. iii, p. 664.) 

May 29, 1895, the work of barbering was for- 
bidden under penalty of $5 or less. Greater pen- 
alty for second offense. In the city of New York 
and the village of Saratoga Springs, barbering 
may be carried on until one o'clock in the after- 
noon. ('* Session Laws of 1895/' vol. i, p. 649.) 

In 1896 corporations, associations, etc., selling 
liquors under tax certificates were forbidden to 
sell on Sunday. ('' Session Laws," vol. i, p. 73.) 
May 13, 1896, Section 267 of the Penal Code was 
amended so as to forbid all manner of public sell- 
ing or offering for sale of any property on Sun- 
day, except articles of food before ten o'clock in 
the morning, and meals to be eaten on the prem- 
ises, prepared tobacco, milk, ice, and soda water, 
in places where liquors are not sold. Fruit, 
flowers, confectionery, newspapers, drugs and 
medicines, and surgical appliances may be sold 
in a quiet and orderly manner at any time of the 
day. C' Session Laws of 1896,'' vol. i, p. 684.) 

April 17, 190 1, the Penal Code touching the 
sale of uncooked flesh and foods on Sunday was 
amended in the following words : ** This section, 
however, shall not be construed to allow or per- 
mit the public sale or exposing for sale or delivery- 
of uncooked flesh, foods, or meats, fresh or salt, 

Changes from 1888 to igo2. 267 

at any hour or time of the day/' Act in force 
from September, 1901. (^* Session Laws of 1901/' 
vol. ii, p. 1066.) 

In 1897 a special law for New York city made 
it unlawful to exhibit to the public on Sunday at 
any place within the city ** any interlude, tragedy, 
comedy, opera, ballet, play, farce, negro min- 
strelsy, negro or other dancing, or any other en- 
tertainment of the stage, or any part or parts 
therein ; or any equestrian, circus, or dramatic 
performance ; or any performance of jugglers, 
acrobats, or rope-dancing/' Persons offending or 
aiding are guilty of a misdemeanor, and, in addi- 
tion to punishment otherwise provided for, are 
subject to a penalty of $500. ('* Session Laws of 
1897,'' vol. iii, p. 522.) 

This law is continued under the new charter, 
(" Laws of 190 1,*' vol. iii, p. 664.) 

The Raines Law. — In 1896 an elaborate law 
concerning the taxing and sale of liquors was 
enacted in the State of New York. This law for- 
bade the sale of liquor on Sunday, but excepted 
pharmacists and hotel-keepers. Hotels were per- 
mitted to sell to guests only, and the law defined 
the words '' guest '' and '' hotel,'' stipulating that 
liquor thus sold was to be in connection with 
meals served to guests in their rooms or apart- 
ments, but not in the ordinary bar-room or other 
similar place. Hotel was defined as ** a building 
or place which is regularly kept open for the 
feeding and lodging of guests and in which there 

268 Sunday Legislation. 

shall be at least lo furnished bedrooms for their 
occupancy, if situate in any city, incorporated 
village, or within two miles of the corporate limits 
of either; and at least 6 bedrooms if situate in 
any other place/' (*' Session Laws of 1896/* vol. i, 

PP- 73-74.) 

This law was amended in 1897 so that the 10 
bedrooms required should be " above the base- 
ment, exclusive of those occupied by the family 
and servants. Rooms must be properly fur- 
nished, and separated by partitions at least 3 inches 
thick, extending from floor to ceiling, with inde- 
pendent access to each room by a door opening 
into a hallway, each room having a window or 
windows with not less than 8 square feet of sur- 
face opening upon a street or open court, light- 
shaft, or open air, and each having at least 80 
square feet of floor area, and at least 600 cubic 
feet of space therein. The dining-room must con- 
tain at least 300 square feet of floor area with 
accommodations for at least 20 guests, and must 
not be a part of the bar-room. The kitchen must 
have conveniences to provide for 20 bona-jide 
guests at one and the same time. Hotels situate 
outside the limits stated above must have 6 bed- 
rooms, a dining-room of 150 square feet of floor 
area, and kitchen accommodations for at least 10 
guests.'* A guest at a hotel is defined as follows : 
**(i) A person who in good faith occupies a room 
in a hotel as a temporary home, and pays the 
regular and customary charges for such occu- 

Changes from 1888 to igo2. 269 

pancy, but who does not occupy such room for 
the purpose of having liquor served therein ; or 
(2) A person who, during the hours when meals 
are regularly served therein, resorts to the hotel 
for the purpose of obtaining, and actually orders 
and obtains at such time in good faith, a meal 

Corporations or associations organized in good 
faith under the law providing for such associa- 
tions, or clubs for social, recreative, and similar 
purposes, which traffic in or distribute liquors 
among the members thereof, are excepted from 
the provision forbidding selling on Sunday. 
('* Laws of New York, 1897,'' vol. i, pp. 233-237.) 

Under the foregoing law a great number of 
saloons have become '* hotels "in name, but not 
in fact, in which the sale of liquors on Sunday 
abounds. To secure further revenue from the 
rooms required, it is said that these saloons have 
become the resort of the lower vicious class on 
Sunday, and that the Social Evil, with its degrad- 
ing concomitants, has been increased and widely 
distributed. This fact forms one of the important 
features in the present situation in New York 
city, and because of it many persons who are op- 
posed to both the saloon and the brothel, think 
that the legal sale of liquors on Sunday would be 
an evil less than the evils created by the present 
situation. Those who study the deeper philoso- 
phy that underlies the present system of legisla- 
tion concerning the liquor traffic, and the prevail- 

270 Sunday Legislation. 

ing Sunday laws, see that the results here named 
are inevitable. The liquor traffic, being legalized 
and protected on other days of the week, can not 
be restrained on Sunday, which is made the most 
favorable day for the traffic because of enforced 
idleness through Sunday legislation. 

North Carolina. 

In 1897 the general law was amended grant- 
ing enlarged privileges to railroads in the running 
of trains, handling of freight, etc. ('' Session 
Laws," chap. 126.) 


The law of Ohio as amended in 1893 forbids 
common labor and business under penalty of 
$25 first offense and $50 to $100 each subsequent 
offense, and imprisonment 5 to 30 days. In 1892 
barbering was prohibited, the act being amended 
in 1893; the penalty is not less than $15 first 
offense, with $20 to $30 second offense, or im- 
prisonment, or both. ('' Bates*s Revised Stat- 
utes," sec. 7033.) 


In 1901 barbering was forbidden under some- 
what severe penalties. ('' Session Laws.") 


The general law of Oklahoma forbids servile 
labor, except works of necessity or charity ; pub- 

Changes from 1888 to igo2. 2 7 1 

lie sports, trades, manufactures, commercial em- 
ployment, public traffic, and serving of civil pro- 
cess, unless authorized by law. Meats, milk, and 
fish may be sold before 9 A. M., and food to be 
eaten upon premises at any time ; usual exception 
for drugs and medicines. Persons observing 
Saturday are exempted, and serving civil process 
on them upon that day is a misdemeanor. The 
sale of spirituous liquor is also a misdemeanor. 
('' Crimes and Punishment," chap. 25, arts. 4 and 



No essential change. 

Rhode Island. 

Certain prohibitions against selling liquor on 
Sunday were enacted in 1889; in 1892 all firing 
of guns on Sunday was prohibited; in 1898 the 
prohibition concerning liquor was renewed. {" Ses- 
sion Laws of 1888 and 1890,*' pp. 221, 238; of 
1892, p. 251 ; of 1898, p. 36.) 

South Carolina. 

In 1896 the general statutes were amended so 
as to include '^ hunting, shooting, chasing game, 
and fishing among prohibited sports.*' ('' Session 
Laws," p. 221.) In 1899 the penalty for *' worldly 
labor, business, or work," was made '' not less 
than $100 nor more than $500." ('' Session Laws," 
p. loi.) In 1901 the statute of 1893 was amended 

272 Sunday Legislation. 

so as to permit railroad trains '' to transport pas- 
sengers to and from religious services " ; also the 
running of fruit and vegetable trains from April 
to August. ('* Session Laws/' p. 721.) 


Extra session of 1891 prohibited baseball; act 
declared valid by Supreme Court. No other 


No essential changes. 

Minor but not essential changes. 


In 1888 the railroad commissioners were em- 
powered to authorize '' through trains " on any 
railroad when, in their opinion, '' public necessity 
and convenience may require, having regard to 
the due observance of the day.'' (*' Session 
Laws," p. 59.) In 1894 the general statute was 
amended so as to forbid all business and employ- 
ment — necessity and charity excepted — the hold- 
ing or attending of balls, dances, games, sports, 
or plays, or the resorting to houses of entertain- 
ment or recreation. ('' Session Laws," p. 113.) 

No change. 

Changes from 1888 to igo2. 273 


The general law was amended in 1891 making 
the penalty for opening theatres, etc., not less 
than $30 nor more than $200. ('* Session Laws/' 
p. 129.) 

West Virginia. 
No essential change. 

No essential change. 


In 1888 the Sunday law of Wyoming was 
amended so as to prohibit the selling or giving 
away of intoxicating liquors ; barbering and gen- 
eral business also prohibited, except the business 
of newspaper offices, railroads, telegraph com- 
panies, hotels, restaurants, drug-stores, livery- 
stables, news depots, farmers, cattle men, ranch 
men, mechanics, furnaces and smelting works, 
glass works, electric-light Avorks, gas works, and 
the sale of ice, milk, fresh meats, and bread. 
('^ Session Laws of 1888/* chap. 86.) 



Alabama^ Sunday law of^ prohibits ordinary work by self or repre- 
sentative, hunting, gaming, racing, open places of business, buy- 
ing, selling, bartering — with exceptions : Sunday contracts void, 
except in the interest of religion, necessity, or mercy ; attach- 
ments permitted if debtor is absconding ; penalty from $io to 
$100, with possible imprisonment, 210-21 1 ; 257. 

Alaska, Sunday law of . 257. 

Alfred, King of JVessex, law of doubles the fine for stealing on Sun- 
day, Yule, Easter, Holy Thursday, or rogation days ; prohibits 
Sunday marketing and work by slaves on '* a festival day," 72-73. 

y^lfric, Archbishop, law of. prohibits "servile work" on first four 
days of Easter, and from noon Saturday to sunrise Monday, 
74-75 ; Institute of : prohibits worldly work, except necessity, 
after hearing mass ; gives reason why ; enjoins church attendance 
on Saturday evening, 75-76. 

America i Sunday legislation in, 160-208. 

Anne, Queen of England, law of, repeals acts of Charles II con- 
cerning coaches, etc., on Sunday, in, 112. 

Archery practiced on Sunday, 144. 

Arizona has no Sunday law, 212 ; 257. 

Arkansas, Sunday law of prohibits labor by self or representatives, 
opening places of business of any kind, games for betting, wager, 
or amusement, hunting, shooting, etc. — exceptions : necessity, 
charity, vessels, certain manufacturing establishments, and persons 
observing the seventh day. Penalty, $1 to $50, 211-212 ; 257, 

^thelstane, law of, forbade marketing on Sunday, 73. 


276 General Index. 

Auxerre^ Council of ^ forbade yoking oxen, or other work, except for 
" appointed reasons," 64. 

Bal-tietiy ancient sun-worship festival, 157 ff. 

Bingham^ Joseph^ identifies Constantine's edict with pagan laws ; 

uses " Lord's day" without warrant, 11. 
BiniuSy history of councils^ quoted, 64, 66, 67, 68. 
British statutes quoted, 97, 102, iii, 112, 113. 

California has no Sunday law since 1883, 212 ; 257. 

Canute y King of Demnarky law of, orders Sunday to be observed from 
Saturday noon to sunrise Monday, forbids Sunday markets, " folk- 
motes," hunting, worldly work, ordeals, and court trials on festi- 
val days, ember days, certain days of Advent, Easter, St. Ed- 
ward's day, St, Dunstan's day, etc., 77, 78. 

Charles /, of England, law of forbids all assemblies outside of one's 
own parish for any " sport " whatever, and certain sports every- 
where, under severe fine, and ** the stocks " if fine be defaulted ; 
protected those enforcing the law, and left offender still subject 
to the '* Ecclesiastical Court," 100-102. 

Cha7'les 11, of England, Sunday law of basis of American laws ; or- 
dered execution of existing laws, and the exercise of "duties of 
piety and true religion," publicly and privately ; forbade all 
** ordinary callings," necessity and charity excepted, by any per- 
son over fourteen years, all exposure or sale of goods, all travel- 
ing for business, by land or water, except by permission of a com- 
petent officer, 108-111. 

Chailes II, of Scotland, law of 1661, approves all former laws ; pro- 
hibits salmon-fishing, running salt-pans, mills, kilns, shearing 
sheep, markets, and merchandising, and "all profanation what- 
soever" on Sunday; penalty ten to twenty pounds. Scot: in 
default of fine, bodily punishment ; this law still in force, 148- 
149 ; law of 1663 prohibits markets on Saturday or Monday, 
changes legal market-days accordingly ; penalty, one hundred 
marks ; excepted " fleshers in royal burghs," 149, 150. 

Christianity, 3, universal religion, 2 ; seeks only protection from civil 
government, 2 ; effect of paganism upon, 3 ; gave stiength to its 
adherents, 6 ; recognized in Roman Empire, 6 ; attitude of Con- 

General Index. 277 

stantine toward, 8, ff ; not favorable to Sunday legislation, i8 ; 
degenerate state of, under Constantine, 29 ff : corrupted by pa- 
ganism, 48 ; spiritual state of, 50 ff ; character of, determined by 
civil law, 53 ; political favors not peculiar to, 60 ; sti*uggled with 
barbarism in middle ages, 61. 

Codex y Justin y quoted, 19, 41, 42, 48. 

Codex Theod., quoted, 20, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 43, 44, 45, 46. 

Colorado^ Sunday law of^ prohibits open saloons and tippling-houses ; 
penalty, $100 or imprisonment six months or less, 212 ; 258. 

Connecticut, Sunday law of, forbids secular business, open shop, 
warehouse, etc., exposing property for sale, sport, or recreation, 
concerts, dancing, games of chance, sale of liquor, traveling — ex- 
ception : necessity, mercy, and persons keeping Saturday ; pen- 
alty, $1 to $40, or possible imprisonment for thirty days ; time, 
sunrise to sunset, 212, 214. Amendments 0/1887 prohibit railroad 
trains between 10.30 a. m., and 3 P. M., unloading or handling 
freight between sunrise and sunset, transporting passengers for 
less than regular fare on Sunday — exceptions: necessity, mercy, 
carrying United States mail, and trains authorized by railroad 
commissions ; penalty, $50 to $250, 214, 215 ; changes, 258. 

Connecticut Colony, law of 16^0 punished burglary on Sunday, first 
offense, by loss of one ear ; second offense, of both ears ; third 
offense, death, 187 ; Law of i6^j forbade vessels leaving harbor 
on Sunday ; punished non-attendance on legal worship on Sun- 
day, fast, and thanksgiving days, 187-188 ; Law of 1668 forbids 
all Sabbath profanation, and compels attendance on public wor- 
ship, 188-189 ; Law of ibyO forbade all work and diversion, pub- 
lic drinking, profane desecration, rude or irreverent behavior ; 
penalty at discretion of judges, 189-190 ; Law of 1684 enforced 
catechizing, family prayer, and general observance of Sunday, by 
selectmen, constables, and grand-jury men, 190 ; Law of 1721 
punished non-attendance on lawful worship, " going forth from 
one's place of abode except for worship or necessity," occupying 
meeting-house without consent, disturbing public worship on 
Sunday, by fine or imprisonment, without appeal, 191-192 ; Law 
of 2726, empowered local officers to punish profanity, drunken- 
ness, and Sabbath-breaking, without trial, 193 ; Law of 1733 in- 
cludes former enactments, prohibits gathering in the streets. 

278 General Index. 

** loitering or drinking," "posting or publishing notices/' ap- 
points two tithing-men for each parish, and adds whipping for 
non-payment of fine, 193-194 ; Law of lybi gives additional 
power to arrest travelers, etc., 195 ; Law of lyjo removes penalty 
for illegal worship from " sober and conscientious dissenters," 195. 

Constantine the Great : attitude toward Christianity, 6 ; adopted 
Christianity as a superstition, 9 ; always Pontifex Maximus, 10 ; 
a worshiper of Apollo the " Unconquered Sun," 10 ; first Sun- 
day law of, pagan, 11 ff. ; believed the sign of the cross magical, 
10 ; law concerning aurispices, 19 ; text of first Sunday law, 19 ; 
influence of sun-worship on, 27 ; criminality of, 28 ; sought no 
advice from Christians concerning Sunday law, 32 ; modifies first 
Sunday law, 34, 

Cromwell y Oliver, first Sunday law of forbids all selling of goods, 
all traveling, all games, 116; condemned on slight proof, 117 ; 
punished by forfeiture, fine, and corporally, 118 ; suppressed 
"book of sports," 118 ; permitted household works of necessity, 
119; compelled attendance at church, 119; Sunday laws to be 
read in public, 119. Second Sunday law of included days of 
humiliation, thanksgiving, etc., 120 ; civil officers ordered to en- 
force, 120 ; all traveling (by land) and civil service forbidden, 
121 ; traveling and business by water, visiting taverns, tobacco- 
houses, etc., forbidden, 122 ; officers empowered to search for 
offenders, fines collected by distrains, 123 ; ordered setting in 
stocks or cage in default of fine, 124 ; officers commanded to en- 
force law, law to be publicly read, 125 ; officers protected in exe- 
cuting, 126. Third Sunday law of, theological basis of, 127 ; 
provisions repeated against traveling, visiting ale-houses, tobacco 

- and victualing houses, singing, playing musical instruments, 
etc., 128 ; all mercantile transactions, and specified games for- 
bidden, 129 ; necessary work in families excepted, 130 ; provisions 
against business by water, enlarged, 130-13 1 ; assumption of civil 
office forbidden, 131 ; markets and fairs forbidden, 132 : fairs and 
markets on Saturday and Monday forbidden, 133 ; officers pun- 
ished for non-enforcement, 134 ; right of search granted, 134, 
135 ; offenses of minor children punished, attendance on public 
worship compelled, disturbing public worship forbidden, 136 ; 
publications against Sunday observance forbidden, and com- 

General Index. 279 

modities offered for sale, forfeited, 138 ; " general issue plea " 
granted, 140. 
Cuthbe7t^ canons ofy orders Sunday to be wholly given to divine serv- 
ice, and '* mass " in all churches and monasteries ; forbids busi- 
ness, secular meetings, and joumeyings, except for ^r^a;^ necessity ; 
orders religious instruction on Sunday, couples Sunday with the 
" great festivals," 71-72. 

Dakota^ Sunday law of^ prohibits labor, public sports, trades, traffic, 
and legal processes — exceptions : necessity, mercy, milk, meats, 
and fish before 9 A. M., food on premises, legal process in breach 
of peace ; justices may issue process on complaint, and take bail ; 
druggists, and persons keeping Saturday, on whom civil process 
may not be served on that day, time midnight to midnight, pen- 
alty $1, 215-216 ; 259. 

D' Alton, on early religion of Ireland, 156. 

Delaware^ Sunday law of, prohibits all worldly labor, all business, 
all traveling, exposure of goods for sale, fishing, horse-racing, 
cock-fighting, hunting, gaming, dancing, or liquor-selling ; per- 
mits works of necessity and mercy, penalty $4, with brief impris- 
onment if fine be defaulted, 216 ; 259. 

Directory^ The^ for public worship under Cromwell, forbids all world- 
ly business, words, and thoughts, on Sunday ; orders such diet 
that all may attend church, private devotions, presence at public 
worship at its opening, catechising, singing of hymns, holy con- 
ference, and works of mercy between services ; was the source 
of customs in New England, 140-142. 

Dyer, Thos,, says early Christianity was combined ** pagan idolatry 
and Christian truth '* ; that Alexander Severus reckoned Abra- 
ham, Orpheus, Apollonius, and Christ as equals, 30. 

Edgar, law of, orders sacred time from Saturday noon till Monday 
sunrise ; all " mass days," all fasts, and every Friday *' to be kept 
with every earnestness," and all church dues to be paid, 74. 
Canon of, prohibits " devil's games and heathen songs on feast 
days, trading and folk-motes on Sunday, 74. 

Edward the Confessor, law of, orders large number of saints* days to 
be observed, with Sunday — see law, 79-80. 

28o General Index. 

Edward 7, of England^ law of forbade markets and fairs in church- 
yards, 8g. 

Edward II I ^ of England^ law of prohibits showing wool on *' Sun- 
day and all solemn feasts of the year," 82. 

Edward IV, of England, law of forbade cobblers and cordwainers 
to sell or fit shoes, etc., to customers on Sunday, in certain parts 
of London, 91-92. 

Edward VI, of England, law of contains long prelude, places ob- 
servance of days on Church authority, couples many other days 
with Sunday, empowers ecclesiastical officers to punish offenders 
at discretion, protects fast days, permits labor on all days in har- 
vests, or at any time under necessity, excepts feasts of the Knights 
of the Garter, 93-97. 

Edward VI, of England, Injunction of, orders all subjects to "cele- 
brate and keep their holy day " in hearing and reading the Bible 
private and public prayers and confessions, settling quarrels, 
errands of mercy, etc. ; permits labor on all days in harvest, and 
urges thereto, 92-93. 

Eidelbald, King of Mercians, law of, (see Cuthbert, canons of, 71-72). 

Elizabeth, pursued middle course in Reformation, placed Sunday on 
level with other Church days, did not enforce abstinence from labor 
on Sunday, permitted Sunday games, etc., 98. Injunction of, en- 
joins subjects to " celebrate and keep their holy day " in hearing 
and reading the Bible, public and private prayers and confessions, 
harmonizing disputes, and receiving the communion ; orders par- 
sons and curates to teach that people may freely work in harvest 
** after common prayer,'* forbids attending church outside one's 
own parish, and appoints special officers to compel attendance^ 

Encyclopcedia Britannica on Heliogabalus, shows that he was greatly 
devoted to the Syrian sun-god, and was shamelessly profligate, 22. 

English Sunday laws, 81-142. 

Erfurt, Council of increased dies non by more than fifty, 68. 

Ethelread law of, forbade marketings and folk-motes on Sunday, 766. 

Fairbairn, A, M., on Roman Christianity, Latin mind modeled 
Church after Roman state, gave Pope such divine honors as em- 
perors had received, 16. 

General Index. 281 

Florida^ Sunday law of^ prohibits all business, trade, labor with ani- 
mals or mechanical power, all disposing of goods and illegal em- 
ployment of apprentices or servants, use of fire-arms for hunting 
or target-shooting, and fishing for shad — exceptions : necessity, 
mercy, accidents, emergencies, ordinary comforts of life ; penalty, 
$20 to $50, 216-217 ; 260. 

Gale^ Theophilus, on policy of Constantine ; he brought men into 
the Church by compulsion and splendid ceremonies ; Church- 
members did not part with heathen faith and rites ; this depraved 
the Church and admitted anti-Christ. i6, 17. 

Georgia, Sunday law of, prohibits open tippling-houses, freight- 
trains, all business and labor, and bathing in sight of highway 
leading to house of worship — exceptions : necessity, mercy, trains 
carrying live-stock ; penalty, any sum under $i,coo, imprison- 
ment six months or less, hard labor in chain-gang twelve months 
or less, 217, 218 ; changes, 260. 

George III, England, law of, forbids baking on Sunday in London 
and vicinity, with liberal exceptions, 113. 

George IV, England, repealed law of George III, and forbade bak- 
ing in London between 9 A. M. and i p. M., with exceptions, 113. 

Gibbon, Edward, describes sun-worship under Heliogabalus : its 
grand processions, magnificent temples, costly offerings, lascivi- 
ous ceremonies, and marriage of sun-god to Astarte, 21, 22. 
Under Aurelian : his gorgeous *' triumph,** ostentatious piety, 
and munificent gifts to the sun-god, 23, 24. Under Constan- 
tine : he persisted in pagan practices ; was governed by policy ; 
his coins ornamented with figures of sun-god ; claimed to hold 
invisible converse with him, 27. On number of Christians under 
Constantine the Great : no positive information ; at most, not 
more than one twentieth of the inhabitants, 31. 

Giesler, J. C. L,, says the Manichaeans celebrated Sunday only by 
fasting, 26. 

Henry IV, England, law of, forbade unlawful games on Sunday and 

other festivals, 90. 
Henry VI, England, law of, forbade fairs and markets on Ascension 

Day, Corpus Christi, Whitsunday, Trinity Sunday, and other 

282 General Index. 

Sundays, feast of the Assumption, All Saints, and Good Friday, 
under penalty of confiscation of goods ; made several liberal ex- 
ceptions, go, 91. 

History : is an organic development from original germs, i. 

Holland^ Sunday law ofy forbids business or trade, public labor, 
exposure for sale in market or public place of all merchandise, 
"except small eating wares"; prohibits open drinking-places 
and public games during hours of public service, theatres, con- 
certs, and the like, also disturbing noises during public worship ; 
law applies to Sunday and " other religious feast-days generally 
celebrated" — exceptions: necessity and special provisions made 
by local government ; penalty, twenty-five gilders or less — in 
default, imprisonment three days or less ; second offense, penalty 
double and goods exposed confiscated, inns and public places 
closed for one month ; laws to be read from pulpit and publicly 
posted ; proper authorities ordered to " maintain the strict ob- 
servance, without any connivance or dissimulation," 153-155, 

Idaho Territory^ Sunday law of, prohibits opening any place of 
business between 10 A. M. and 3 P. M. ; nearly all civil processes 
permitted in emergency, 218 ; 260. 

Illinois^ Sunday law of, prohibits open tippling-houses, disturbing 
peace and good order by amusement or labor — exceptions : neces- 
sity, charity, railroads, water-men, ferry-men, persons moving, 
and those keeping Saturday ; contracts on Sunday are valid ; 
writs and injunctions permitted under urgent necessity ; time, 
midnight to midnight ; penalty, $200 or less, 218, 219 ; 260. 

Indiana, Sunday law of, prohibits persons over fourteen years of age 
from rioting, hunting, fishing, quarreling- or common labor — 
exceptions : charity, necessity, traveling, families emigrating, 
toll-taking, and ferry-men ; penalty. $1 to $10 ; attachments may 
be served if debtor is absconding, execution when loss of judg- 
ment is feared, any civil process when its object would otherwise 
be defeated ; acknowledgment of legal papers is valid ; liquor- 
selling forbidden ; penalty, $10 to $50 and imprisonment ten to 
sixty days, 219 ; 260. 

Indian Territory, Sunday law of, 260. 

Ine, King of Wessex, law of, fined owner for working slave on Sun- 

General Index. 283 

day ; punished slave if he worked without order of master ; a free- 
man forfeited freedom ; priests suffered double punishment, 71. 

Iowa, Sunday law ofy forbids rioting, fighting, hunting, shooting, 
carrying fire-arms, fishing, horse-racing, dancing, disturbing pub- 
lic assemblies or private families, buying, selling, and labor — 
exceptions : necessity, charity, persons observing the seventh day, 
emigrants, toll-takers, and ferry-men ; penalty, $i to $5 and 
costs, with imprisonment till paid, 220 ; 261. 

Ireland, pagan y sun-worship in, 155 ff. ; Sunday festival in, 157. 

Irish kings distributed ale on Sunday, 158. 

Islep^ Archbishop of Canterbury, Constitution of opens with theo- 
logical argument, bewails profligacy of people on religious festi- 
vals, forbids " such works as are profitable to the commonwealth" 
from "vespers on Saturday," also on a host of saints' days — see 
law ; ordered attendance at church on all these days ; laborers 
forbidden to rest on any days not designated by law, etc., 85, 88. 

James /, England, book of sports of condemns Papists and Puritans; 
claims Sunday as belonging to common people for amusement ; 
permits all " recreations " which do not injure the state ; orders 
Puritans and precisians to conform, or leave ; enjoins dancing, 
etc., after morning service ; prohibits bear-baiting, and forbids 
recreations to those who will not first attend church ; orders at- 
tendance within one's ov/n parish ; forbids carrying of offensive 
weapons at games, 103-108. 

James /, Scotland, law of orders training in archery of all males 
over twelve years of age on holy days ; penalty, a sheep, 144. 

Tames III, Scotland, law of orders annual changing of tenants, etc., 
deferred till after Whitsunday and Martinmas ; forbids fairs on 
holy days, 144. 

James IV, Scotland, law of, forbids markets and fairs on holy days, 
in churches or church-yard on any day ; penalty, forfeiture of 
goods, 144-145. 

James VI, Scotland, law of i^'/g, bewails holding of fairs and mar- 
kets on ** Sabbath-days," also gaming, frequenting taverns, and 
remaining from church ; forbids markets and fairs on Sunday, in 
churches or church-yards on all days, labor on Sunday, frequent- 
ing ale-houses, selling of meat and drink, and absence from 

284 General Index. 

church — penalty for labor, ten shillings ; for gaming, frequenting 
taverns, selling meat and drinks, absence from church, twenty- 
shillings : in default of fine, " the stocks or other engine for public 
punishment" twenty-four hours, 145-146. Law 0/ ij^^ repeats 
prohibition of markets, etc., and establishes other market-days 
than Sunday, 146-147. Law of j^gj ratifies former laws, empow- 
ers presbytery to nominate officers to execute laws, punishes neg- 
lect to execute, 147. Second law ofijgj changes market-day from 
Sunday to Friday in the Burgh Forfare, 147-148. Law of i^g^ 
repeats former laws, forfeits all goods, gear, and merchandise 
exposed for sale on Sunday ; punishes offenders ** at the will of 
his Majesty with advice of his secret counsel," 148. 
JohnsoUy JohUy Saxon laws quoted from, 72, 74, 

Kansasy Sunday laiv of prohibits all labor in person or by proxy, 
horse-racing, gaming, exposure of goods or liquors for sale, hunt- 
ing and shooting — exceptions : necessity, charity, drugs, medi- 
cines, provisions, other articles for immediate use, and persons 
keeping Saturday who are free from civil service on that day ; 
penalty, $50 or less, 221 ; 261. 

Kentucky, Sunday law of, forbids business, "ordinary" labor by 
self or others, hunting, and all gaming— exceptions : necessity, 
charity, household duties, and persons keeping Saturday ; penal- 
ty, $1 to $50, and forfeiture of license by keepers of billiard- 
tables who permit gaming, 221-222 ; 261. 

LabbCy history Church councils, quoted, 64, 66, 67, 68. 

Leckey, on divinity of Roman emperors : Caligula claimed his divin- 
ity as a fact ; called Jupiter to account for a thunder-storm, etc. 
Heliogabalus sought to unite all religions in worship of himself , 
slaves avoided punishment by holding images of the emperor ; a 
capital offense to commit sacrilege in presence of emperor's 
statue, 7, 8. 

Lord's day appears first in legislation 386 A. D., 36. 

Louisiana, Sunday law of, forbids licensed business places and 
plantation stores to open or conduct business ; time, midnight to 
midnight — exceptions : nearly everything except indiscriminate 

General Index. 285 

sale of liquor ; (see text) penalty, $25 to $250 or imprisonment 
ten to thirty days, 222-224 \ change, 261. 

Macon, Second Council of, forbids litigation, or yoking of cattle even 
under necessity, on Sunday ; commands to be occupied in praise, 
or to attend church for prayers and repentance : offenders threat- 
ened with wrath of God and anger of clergy, an advocate loses 
his cause, a countryman or slave incurs whipping, and a clerk 
or monk suspension for six months, as penalty of disobedience, 

Maine, Sunday law of, prohibits open places of business, travel, 
labor, sporting, gaming, and all public shows, hunting or destroy- 
ing of birds or other game ; time, midnight to midnight — excep- 
tions : persons observing Saturday, and works of necessity and 
charity ; penalty, $10 or less, and loss of license by inn-keepers ; 
civil process illegal, attempt to serve punishable ; contracts void, 
date alone not sufficient evidence ; contract being voided, consid- 
eration must be restored ; tithing-men or others may prosecute 
within six months, 224-225 ; amendments, 261. 

Maryland, Sunday law of, prohibits all labor, fishing, fowling, hunt- 
ing, recreations, ** catching oysters," open barber-shops and all 
places of public diversion — exceptions : necessity, charity, apothe- 
caries putting up bona-fide prescriptions ; penalty, $5 to $500, 
with double penalty for repeated offense, also loss of license and 
imprisonment ten to sixty days, 225, 226 ; changes, 262. 

Massachusetts Bay Colony, ''^Common law of i62g, forbade labor 
after three o'clock on Saturday ; ordered catechising, etc., 167. 
Law of 1664 recognized death penalty for * * striking of a father " 
and for Sabbath-breaking, 168. Colonial law of 1646 compelled 
attendance on public worship on Sunday and ** thanksgiving" 
days, 169. Law of 16^ j stringently forbade persons above seven 
years of age from walking or playing in the streets during day- 
light on Sunday ; penalty, fine and whipping, i6g, 170. Law of 
16s J ordered posting Sunday law on meeting-house door, 171. 
Law of 16^4 empowered the officers of the congregation and the 
selectmen to appoint special police to preserve order at church, 
171. Law of 16^8 increased restriction against walking, etc., 
after sunset on Saturday night, 172, Law of 166^ added corpo- 

286 General Index. 

ral punishment to penalty, 173. Law of 1667 ordered public 
reading of Sunday law twice a year ; appointed tithing-men to 
apprehend Sabbath-breakers; added "caging" to penalty; em- 
powered officers to *'make diligent search" or "break down 
doors" to arrest Quakers in unlawful meeting, and to punish 
unnecessary absence from legal worship, 175-176. Law of 1668 
increased penalty for Sabbath-breaking, and made attendance on 
unlawful meetings to be " Sabbath-breaking," 174. Law of 16'/ j 
made hotel-keepers /^r/2V^j criminis^ 176. Law of ibyj made 
tithing-men excise officers, with enlarged powers, 177. Law of 
idjg (Boston and other towns) ordered guard at sunset Saturday 
night, and forbade any to pass out of town without permit ; also 
reading of Sunday law by town-clerk instead of ministers, 177- 
178. Colony reorganized i6gi^ 178. Law of i6g^ embodied 
previous laws, prohibited labor, sporting, traveling, further re- 
stricted " public-houses," gave large power to local magistrates, 
collected fines by distraints and under default, set in stocks or 
cage for three hours ; operative from sunset to sunset ; enjoined 
officers to enforce the law, 178-179. Law of ly 16 increased pen- 
alties for working, playing, and traveling, with "double" for 
second offense, and " sureties " for future obedience ; with special 
fine for absence from public service one month, 179-180. Law 
of iy2y increased all penalties, and added imprisonment in coun- 
ty jail five days or less ; also made special provisions against the 
" great profanation " of Sunday by funerals, and granted " power 
of search" in case of " drinking-places," 180. Law of 1741 in- 
creased penalty for " slothfully loitering in streets or fields," but 
allowed appeal, 180. Lawof iy6o repealed existing laws because 
they were not executed, gave theological reasons in preamble, 
and prohibited working, playing, traveling, entertaining any but 
"travelers, strangers, and lodgers" in public-houses, loitering, 
walking, or gathering in companies in streets, fields, or on wharves, 
absence from public service for one month, and all unlicensed 
funerals, except in Boston, after sunset ; time, from sunset on 
Saturday ; twelve wardens with excessive powers were appointed 
in each town to execute this law ; Sunday patrol established in 
Boston ; penalty : fines, loss of license ; surety for good behavior, 
with imprisonment in common jail five to ten days in default of 

General Index. 287 

fine ; law to be read at town meeting in March each year, i8o- 
182. Law of ly 6 1 supplemented that of 1760 by imposing fine 
Qi five pounds for giving false answers or refusing to aid wardens, 
183 ; recent amendments, 262. 

Massachusetts^ Sunday law of, prohibits travel, labor, business, 
opening of business places, sporting, gaming, use of fire-arms for 
hunting or amusement, fishing, and all liquor-selling — exceptions : 
necessity, charity ; prohibition of travel no defense in case of 
" tort or injury " ; keepers of public-houses liable for oftenders on 
their premises ; civil process forbidden ; prisoners may be bailed ; 
railroad commissioners may authorize " through trains," if deemed 

\ necessary ; penalty, $1 to $100, loss of license, or possible im- 
prisonment under six months, 226-228. Ainendme7its of i88y 
practically annulled the foregoing law (see text), 228, 229. 

Mayence^ Council of forbade servile work, and judicial trials except 
for capital crimes, on Sunday, 66. 

Michigan^ Sunday law of, prohibits open place of business, attend- 
ance on public entertainments, games, etc., serving of civil 
process, interrupting religious worship, and selling liquor — ex- 
ceptions : necessity, charity, mercy, and persons observing Satur- 
day : penalty, $10 or less ; place of public entertainment liable 
for those entertained , time, midnight to midnight ; courts may 
open to discharge a jury, receive a verdict, or attend to criminal 
cases demanding immediate action ; game and fish wardens may 
make arrests on Sunday, 229-230 ; amendments, 264. 

Milmany H, H., says laws of Constantine were ambiguous ; Sunday 
edict made no reference to the day as Christian ; sun-worshipers 
would naturally obey the law ; no direct evidence that it was 
anything more than pagan, 12 f. Diocletian was devotee of the 
sun-worship ; appealed to sun-god for exculpation from murder ; 
consulted Apollo before persecuting Christians, 24. On Ma^ii- 
chceans : their worship was simple ; prayed to the sun ; claimed 
that Christ dwelt therein, 25. Justinian code shows the Church 
under control of the emperors, whose laws were deemed divine ; 
they ruled monasteries and decided ordination of bishops ; strove 
to check gross immorality in the clergy, gaming, drunkenness, 
and the like in vain ; bishops were imperial officers in temporal 
affairs ; law prescribed the number of clergy in each church ; the 

288 General Index. 

code almost exclusively Roman ; Christianity made little change 
in it, etc., 56-59- 

Minnesota^ Sunday law of^ prohibits labor, shooting, hunting, fish- 
ing, all public gaming, shows, and disturbing public peace ; all 
business, selling, serving of legal process — exceptions : necessity, 
charity, articles of food before 10 A. M., meals served by caterers, 
tobacco, fruit, confectionery, medicine, drugs, etc., civil process 
in case of breach of peace, and when specially authorized by 
statute ; penalty, $10 or less, or imprisonment five days or less, 
or both, 230, 231 ; amendments, 264. 

Mississippi^ Sunday law of^ prohibits all labor, business open places 
of business, public shows, gaming, hunting, and fishing — excep- 
tions : necessity, charity, household duties, railroads, steamboats, 
attachments, injunctions, and all " remedial processes," according 
to judgment of judicial officer ; penalty, $5 to $20, and $50 to 
$100 for selling liquor, 231-232 ; 264. 

Missouri^ Suiiday law ofy prohibits labor by self or another, hunting, 
shooting, horse-racing, card-playing, etc., exposure of goods for 
sale, or selling liquors — exceptions : necessity, charity, observers 
of Saturday, ferry-men, and " sale of drugs, medicines, provisions, 
or other articles of immediate necessity " ; penalty, $50 or less, 
232-233; 264. 

Montana^ Sunday law of, prohibits open theatres, dance-houses, 
prize-rings, racing, and ** banking games of cards" ; penalty, $1 
to $100 or imprisonment one to thirty days, or both, 233 ; 264. 

Neale, Edward F"., says judicial and non-judicial days not the prod- 
uct of Christian thought ; they were common before Augustus ; 
their number made a shield for criminals ; abstinence from labor 
on days devoted to religion also a Roman idea ; shows what was 
permitted and prohibited, 13, 14. On Elizabeth! s policy^ it was 
moderate ; Sundays and holidays placed by her on same ground, 


Neander : Manichaeans did not observe Sunday in commemoration 
of Christ, they fasted on that day, 26. 

Nebraska, Sunday law of, prohibits opening of civil courts, selling 
liquor, sporting, rioting, quarreling, hunting, fishing, shooting — 
exceptions : discharging jury, receiving verdict, duties of a single 

General Index. 289 

magistrate in civil proceedings ; persons observing Saturday, 
emigrants, w^atermen, toll-takers, and railways ; penalty, $i to 
$100, 234-235 ; local power of Sunday legislation, 264. 

Nevada, Sunday law of, prohibits open theatres, race-courses, games 
of chance, noisy amusements, and judicial business — exceptions : 
jury having case in charge, civil service demanding immediate 
attention ; penalty, $30 to $200, 235 ; 265. 

New England^ colonial government of a theocracy, 160 ; Sunday 
laws enforced in : John Barnes, punished in 1636 ; Stephen Hop- 
kins in 1637 ; Web Adey in 1639 ; John Shaw and Stephen Bry- 
ant in 1649 ; Edward Hunt in 1650 ; Elizabeth Eddy, Arthur 
Howland, Nathanial Bassett, Joseph Pryor, Abraham Pierce, 
Henry Clark, and Thurston Clark in 1651-52 ; Peter Gaunt, 
Ralph Allen, Sr., George Allen, and William Chase in 1655 
(circa) ; Lieutenant Wyatt in 1658 ; Sarah Kirby (publicly 
whipped) and Ralph Jones in 1658, 206-208. 

New Hampshire^ Sunday law of, prohibits work, secular business, 
and labor *' to the disturbance of others " ; playing, gaming* 
keeping open place of business, or exposing merchandise for sale 
— exceptions : necessity, charity, bakers, druggists, milk, and 
other necessaries of life ; penalty, $10 or thirty days' imprison- 
ment ; time, midnight to midnight, 235, 236 ; 265. 

New Haven Colony, " common law " of, Jewish, 184 ; Law of 1647 
forbade all Sabbath-breaking from sunset to sunset ; punishment 
at judgment of court, 185 ; Law of 16^6 required attendance on 
legal worship on Sunday, "fast," and " thankgiving " days, 185 ; 
^''presumptive'' Sabbath-breaking punishable with death, 186. 

New Jersey, Sunday law of, prohibits all travel, worldly business, 
shooting, hunting, fishing, and pubHc diversions ; travelers may 
be stopped by any citizen and detained until Monday ; all public 
or private transportation by vehicles liquor-selling, gambling, 
and other common nuisances, hunting with any weapons, with or 
without dogs, trapping or snaring game — exceptions : charity, 
one passenger train each way on railroads, freighting of milk, 
running of ferry-boats, civil service in breach of peace, disorderly 
persons and cases of bastardy, persons observing Saturday may 
labor upon their own premises, are free from labor on highways, 
and military duties ; penalty, in general, $10 ; in default of fine, 

290 Ge7ieral Index. 

imprisonment under ten days, with extra penalties for selling 
liquor, keeping ** disorderly house," etc. (see " Statutes," which are 
very elaborate), 236, 238 ; amendments, 265. 

New Mexico, Sunday law of, prohibits public gaming, racing, danc- 
ing, disturbing assemblies, buying or selling, public meetings, 
except religious, open places of business, displaying merchandise, 
sale of liquors, etc. — exceptions : necessity, mercy, traveleis, 
ferry-boats, livery-stables, hotels, restaurants, barbers, butchers, 
bakers, apothecaries, irrigating of fields, persons removing, serv- 
ing civil process under liability of loss or inconvenience ; time, 
sunrise to midnight ; penalty, $10 to $50 first offense ; $25 to 
$100 subsequent offense, or imprisonment five to twenty days, 
238, 239 ; 265. 

Ne7V York, colony of, law of 1647, forbade Sabbath-breaking, brawl- 
ing, drunkenness, liquor-selling, except to travelers, " before two 
o'clock on Sunday when there is no preaching, and after 9 P. M.,'^ 
200 ', Law of i6g^ forbade travel, labor, shooting, fishing, sport- 
ing, playing, horse-racing, frequenting of tippling-houses, etc. ; 
general fine, six shillings, punishment *' on sight " by justice of 
the peace ; three hours in " the stocks " in default of fine ; travel 
under twenty miles permitted if in attending public worship or 
going for physician or nurse, 199-201. 

New York State, Sunday law of, prohibits serving of civil process, 
sporting, hunting, fishing, horse-racing, tippling-houses, travel, 
servile labor, sale of goods, fruit, herbs, etc., and liquors— excep- 
tions : necessity, charity, traveling for public worship, visiting 
the sick, carrying United States mails, executing orders of public 
officers, removing of family, persons keeping Saturday— who are 
also free from jury duty, ordinary military service, and submitting 
to service of civil process on that day— sale of meats, milk, or fish 
before 9 A. M., the sale of liquors to lodgers, and persons '* legally 
traveling " ; general penalty, $1 ; for liquor-selling, $2.50, prose- 
cutions to be made within twenty days, 239, 240 ; general law 
much weakened by amendments to penal code in 1883, 242 (see 
statute) ; special defense for those who observe Saturday enacted 
in 1885, 242 ; additions and amendments, 265 ; preface, iii. 

New York city, special provisions for : Lazv of i860 prohibits speci- 
fied public exhibitions; Law of 18'/ 2 forbids "processions" on 

General Index. 291 

Sunday, except funeral and those from churches and religious 
services ; Law of 1882 forbids theatrical and operatic shows on 
Sunday, makes property-holders liable, and forbids noisy parades 
and processions, 240-242. (Consult " Statutes.") 

Nicholas /, instructions to Burgundians taught that journeying, fight- 
ing, etc.. were lawful on all days ; " Our hopes do not rest on 
days ; " classes Sunday, saints' days, etc., together, 67. 

Northumbrian priests^ law of, forbade traffic, folk-motes, and all 
forms of traveling on Sunday, 77. 

North Carolina, Sunday law of, forbids ordinary work, business, 
hunting, fishing, fowling, and public sports by persons over four- 
teen years of age, running railroad trains, handling freight, and 
fishing with nets, and all sale of intoxicating liquors — exceptions : 
necessity, charity, medical prescriptions, trains in transitu up to 
9 A. M., and trains carrying perishable freight, also " established 
seines " in Carteret and Onslow Counties, 242-243 ; 270. 

Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury, Canon of, declares fasting and alms 
to be a means of salvation ; ordered Wednesday, Friday, all 
days of Lent, Sunday, and saints' days to be carefully ob- 
served, 73. 

Ohio, Sunday law of, prohibits sporting, rioting, quarreling, hunting, 
fishing, shooting, common labor, and sale of liquors — exceptions : 
persons observing Saturday, emigrants, watermen, toll-takers and 
ordinary arrests ; penalty $20 or less, or imprisonment twenty 
days or less, 244 ; amendments, 270. 

Oklahoma, Sunday law of, 270. 

Oregon, Sunday law of, prohibits open places for business or amuse- 
ment, tippling-houses, saloons, and ordinary service of civil 
process — exceptions : druggists, physicians, undertakers, livery- 
men, butchers, bakers ('* necessity and mercy may be offered in 
defense "), and jury having case in charge ; penalty $5 to $50, 
244, 245 ; 270. 

Orleans, Third Council of, condemned overstrict observance of Sun- 
day as Jewish ; better to abstain from rural work ; offenders pun- 
ished by ecclesiastical authority, 64. 

Patrick, St., condemns sun-worship, 156. 

Peckham, John, Archbishop of Canterbury, taught that the Sabbath 
is not binding ; Church has full power to determine what days 

292 General Index. 

should be observed ; observance to be according to " canonical 
law," and not "Jewish," 81, 82. 

Pennsylvania^ Colony of, law of lyoo-oi, under Evans and Penn, 
prohibited servile work and tippling in drinking-houses — ex- 
cepted : preparing food in public houses, selling by butchers and 
fishermen during June, July, and August, milk before 9 A. M., 
and landing passengers by watermen all day ; taverns allowed to 
sell liquors in moderation to regular inmates and travelers ; serv- 
ice of civil process forbidden. Law of iy86y prohibited working 
and sporting under penalty of thirty shillings : it excepted 
boatmen, watermen, stage-coaches — when permitted by civil 
officers on extraordinary occasions — preparing food, delivering 
milk and other necessaries of life before 9 A. M. and after 5 P. M. 
Law of iyg4. essentially like the above, 202, 203. 

Pennsylvania, Sunday law of prohibits civil process, all worldly 
labor and business, gaming, shooting, hunting or diversion, 
drinking in tippling-houses, all sale of liquors, fishing and trap- 
ping, canals and railroads not compelled to attend their 
works to expedite travel — exceptions : necessity, charity, pre- 
paring food, emigrants in transitu, delivering milk and other 
necessaries of life before 9 A. M. and after 5 p. M. ; keepers of 
public houses liable for offenders on their premises ; penalty $4 
to $50, placing in stocks, or binding to good behavior ; *' forcible 
entry for a better view of offenders permitted," £45, 246 ; 271. 

Plymouth Colony, law of i6jo prohibited servile work and *such 
like abuse" on Sunday ; per.alty, ten shillings or whipping, 161 ; 
Law of 16^1 commanded attendance on lawful worship ; penalty, 

, ten shillings, profaning Sunday by sloth or laziness ; penalty, ten 
shillings or whipping, 161, 162. Law of 16^8 prohibited trav- 
eling, bearing burdens, etc. ; penalty, immediate arrest, twenty 
shillings, or four hours in "the stocks," 162. Law of j66j pro- 
hibited *• frequent " absence from lawful public worship ; penalty, 
ten shillings each offense, 163. Law <?/' 766^ prohibited "ordi- 
nary keepers" from sei-ving wine or liquor on Sunday, except 
" for the relief of those that are sick or faint " ; penalty, ten shil- 
lings, 163 ; also forbade hunting or work by Indians. This was 
repeated in 1666, 167. L^aw of 166^ prohibited sleeping, jesting, 
etc., ** without doors at the meeting-house " on Sunday ; penalty, 

General Index. 293 

being admonished, or set in " the stocks " by constable. In i66g^ 
constables and their deputies were further instructed to warn 
*• such as sleep or play about the meeting-house," and report 
them to the court if they do not reform ; the same provision was 
to be executed against " unnecessary violent riding " on Sunday ; 
the same law forbade '' smoking of tobacco within two miles of 
the meeting-house " on Sunday, under penalty of twelve pence, 
165-166. Law of 1668 ordered the selectmen to note profane 
and slothful neglect of public worship, and report offenders to the 
court, 166. Law of i6yo empowered officers to search for those 
absent from church, and return their names to the court, i66, 167. 
Law ^/ /^c^*^,. prohibited traveling, except under permission from 
proper officers, granted only on great necessity, transgressors to 
be apprehended by any person ; also prohibited servile work, 
labors or sports on legal fasts and days of thanksgiving, 163, 
164. Plymouth colony united with Massachusetts in 1691, 


Popery established in Scotland, 1560, 143. 

Presbyte7ianism established in Scotland, i6go, 143. 

Ftisoners to be humanely treated, and conducted to bath under 

guard on Sundays, bishops to superintend this, 43. 
Puritans, Sunday laws of, in England, 1 15-142. 

Renan, Ernest, on religion of Romans, it was purely civil, the state 
was the Romans' god ; was aristocratic ; priesthood not based on 
religious considerations ; dealt with actions, not motives ; wor- 
shiper must do no more for the gods than law required ; Chris- 
tianity, at first, was modified Judaism, 3-5. 

Rheims, Council of, forbade servile work, law courts, and mercantile 
transactions on Sunday, 66, 67. 

Rhode Island Colony, law of idyj announced religious liberty, for- 
bade general labor, or evil-doing, drinking, gaming, etc., on Sun- 
day, appointed special Sunday police, 195-197. La7v of idyg^ 
forbade using servants, sporting, gaming, and drinking under 
penalty of fine or stocks, 197, 198. 

Rhode Island, Sunday law of, prohibits ordinary labor and business, 
all games, sports, and recreations, employment of other persons, 
etc. — exceptions : necessity, charity, Jews, and Seventh-day Bap- 

294 General Index. 

tists — with certain restrictions concerning noisy work — except in 
Hopkinton and Westerly ; penalty, five dollars, 246-247; 271. 
Rome, regarded religion as a department of the state, 3 ; religion of, 
aristocratic, regulated by civil law, 4 ; favored religious syn- 
cretism, provided for all religions, 5 f. ; regulated Christianity by 
law, 6 ; emperors of, deified, 7 f. ; forbade work on pagan festi- 
vals, II, 14; forbade civil transactions on pagan festivals, 14, 15. 

Saints' days, associated with Sunday in England, 95. 

Saturday, Jews not to be molested on, nor to molest Christians on ; 
observed as late as 409, A. D., 41, 42. 

Saxon Sunday Laws, 70-80. 

Schaff^ Philip, shows Constantine as first representative of a " Chris- 
tian theocracy " ; of a hurtful union between Christianity and 
politics ; his religious views neither deep nor broad ; he adopted 
Christianity as a superstitution ; enjoined soothsaying in same 
year he issued Sunday edict; always Pontifex Maximus ; re- 
nounced heathenism on his death-bed, 8. Heliogabalus, a de- 
praved priest of the sun-god, for whom he was named, 20. Con- 
stantine falsely described by Eusebius ; vices increased with his 
power ; guilty of gross and inexcusable crimes, treachery, murder, 
etc. ; not morally transformed by Christianity ; guilty of duplicity 
up to the last, 28 ; shows worship of saints to be the product of 
paganism ; that Christians worshipped the sun-god before en- 
tering St. Peter's church ; that martyr- worship, many forms of 
observing Christmas, and the Continental Sunday, are the product 
of heathenism, 29, 30. Constantine' s Sunday law, a pagan docu- 
. ment, 32. Christianity much corrupted, when Roman Empire fell ; 
Church filled with pagans, and secularized by union with the 
state, 51-53. Middle age, one of darkness and blind faith ; 
Church controlled all life ; Church hierarchy supreme, 61-63. 

Scobell, acts of Cromwell, quoted 120, 126, 140, 142. 

Scotland, Kirk of, 150 fF. 

Scotland, Sunday Laws of, 143-153. 

Soissons, Second Council of, instituted many non-Judicial days, 67. 

South Carolina, Sunday law of, prohibits worldly business, labor, 
offering anything for sale, public sports and pastimes, use of 
gaming-tables, running, loading, or unloading railroad trains — ex- 

General Index. 295 

captions : necessity, charity, persons under fifteen years, n>ail 
and construction trains, other trains under extraordinary emer- 
gencies, civil process for felony, treason, or breach of peace ; 
penalty, $i to $500, owners of gaming-tables liable for offenders 
on premises, 247-248 ; amendments, 271. 

Stephens^ John Archibald, quoted on English Laws, 82. 

Stille^ C. J.^ shows Constantine as a leader at Council of Nice, as the 
author of state-church idea, first to punish heretics by civil law ; 
Christian hierarchy developed in fourth century ; gained immense 
power under Ambrose, 54-56. 

Tarragon, Council of, forbade clergy to try civil cases on Sunday, and 
ordered them to attend to religious services, 64. 

Tennessee^ Sunday law of, prohibits common avocations, hunting, 
fishing, gaming, and being drunk — exceptions : necessity, charity, 
and *' public service " in time of peace ; private contracts are 
valid outside of one's regular business ; penalty, $3, 248 ; 272. 

Texas^ Sunday law of, prohibits labor by self or representative, 
horse-racing, match-shooting, all gaming for money, all selling of 
goods and wares — exceptions : nearly everything in the line of 
labor, persons keeping Saturday, provisions before 9 A. M., and 
drugs and medicines throughout the day ; general penalty, $10 to 
$50, 249 ; 272. 

Thorpe, Benjamin, Saxon laws quoted, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 


Thorsby, John, Archbishop of York, forbade markets in churches, 
church porches, cemeteries, and other " holy places," on Sundays 
and festivals, also rude games at such times and places, 89. 

Triburary, Council of, forbade holding of courts on Sunday, saints' 
days, Lent, and other festivals, 68. 

Uhlhorn, Gerhard, says Constantine was little favorable to Christian- 
ity in 312 A. D. ; as a monotheist he worshipped the sun -god, 1 1. 

United States, Sunday laws in^ not generally observed, disregard of, 
weakens obligation, 209. 

Utah Territory, Sunday law of, prohibits bull, bear, cock, and prize 
fighting, horse-racing, circus shows, open gambling-houses, sa- 
loons, theatres, and public spectacles where intoxicating drinks 
are sold or given away, all shows for which fee is charged, and 
opening of business houses — exceptions : hotels, boarding-houses^ 

296 General Index. 

baths, restaurants, livery-stables, drug-stores, manufacturing es- 
tablishments in continual operation ; penalty, $5 to $100 ; time, 
midnight to midnight, 250 ; 272. 

Vermont^ Sunday law of^ forbids all business or employment, pres- 
ence at public assemblies not religious, traveling, visiting, public 
dancing, gaming-houses, etc., also hunting or discharging fire- 
arms — exceptions : necessity, charity, humane works, military and 
police duty; penalty, $2 to $10; civil process void, except in 
emergency, 251; amendments, 272. 

Virginia^ colony^ laws of i6ij-i62jy ordered attendance on church ; 
penalty, two pounds of tobacco ; absence for a month, fifty pounds 
of tobacco, 203-204. In i62g and 1642 ordinary employment, 
traveling, loading of boats, shooting of game, etc., forbidden ; 
penalty, twenty to one hundred pounds of tobacco, 204-205. By 
law of iy86 ministers are exempted from arrest while performing 
public duties ; disturbing public meetings punished by fine ; all 
labor forbidden, 205. Law of 1801 forbade trading with slaves, 
and of iSig excessive drinking, 205-206, 

Virginia^ Sunday law of prohibits all labor and business, opening 
places where liquor is sold, running, loading, or unloading rail- 
road trains — exceptions : charity, necessity, mail trains, live- 
stock, and perishable-fruit trains, and persons keeping Saturday. 
Liquor law not applicable to cities of 10,000 inhabitants ; penal- 
ty, $2 to $100, 251-252 ; 272. 

Wales, ancient, Sunday in, 159. Monday, dies non, 159. 

Washington Territory, Sunday law of prohibits theatres, race- 
courses, cock-pits, games of chance, noisy amusements, liquor- 
shops, judicial and general business — exceptions : civil service in 

" criminal cases, attachments and injunctions under civil code, jus- 
tice-practice and probate-practice acts, hotels, drug-stores, livery- 
stables, undertakers ; penalty, $25 to $roo, 253 ; 273. 

West Virginia, Sunday law of, prohibits all labor, business, hunting, 
shooting, gaming, etc. — exceptions : household works, necessity, 
charity, official carrying of arms, mail and passenger trains, per- 
sons observing Saturday, civil contracts, service of civil process 
in emergency, inquests, etc. ; giving away liquors on Sunday con- 
stitutes a misdemeanor; penalty, $5 to |ioo, 253-254 ; 273. 

Wilkins's "Concilia," etc.. quoted, 89, 93, 99, 100, 108. 

General Index. 297 

William III ^ Sunday law for l7'eland, forbade general work, boister- 
ous games and traveling ; restricted sale of liquor, and enlarged 
the power of officers to execute ; was a puritanic law, with many 
" exceptions," iii. 

Wisconsin^ Sunday law of, prohibits all labor and business, dancing, 
diversion, shows, or entertainments ; giving or selling liquor, value 
of liquor sold on Sunday not recoverable — exceptions : necessitv, 
charity, persons observing Saturday ; legalizes notices published 
in Sunday papers ; grants the use of highways to the public ; vio- 
lation of Sunday law no defense in case of injury ; penalty, $io, 
or less, to $20, or imprisonment for thirty days or less, or both* 

254-255 ; 273. 

Wyoming Territory^ Sunday law of, prohibits notorious public in- 
decency and public gaming ; penalty, $100 or less or imprison- 
ment, six months or less, 255-256; amendments, 273. 



History of the People of the United 
By Prof. John Bach McMaster. Vols. I, II, III, 
IV, and V now ready. 8vo. Cloth, with Maps, 
$2.50 per volume. 

The fifth volume covers the time of the administrations of 
John Quincy Adams and Andrew^ Jackson, and describes the 
development of the democratic spirit, the manifestations of new 
interest in social problems, and the various conditions and plans 
presented between 1821 and 1830. Many of the subjects in- 
cluded have necessitated years of first-hand investigations, and 
are now treated adequately for the first time. 

*' John Bach McMaster needs no introduction, but only a peeling. . . . 
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A History of the American Nation. 

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The Private Life of the Sultan. 

By Georges Dorys, son of the late Prince of Samos, 
a former minister of the Sultan, and formerly Governor 
of Crete. Translated by Arthur Hornblow. Uniform 
with '^The Private Life of King Edward VII." Illus- 
trated. i2mo. Cloth, $1.20 net; postage, 10 cents addi- 

The high position that the writer's father held at Constantinople gave the 
son a close insight into the personality of one of the least known of modem 
rulers, so far as personality is concerned. It is unnecessary to say that the 
author has long since left the domain of the Sultan of Turkey, and he is 
now a member of the Young Turk party and a resident of Paris. It is now 
announced that he has been recently condemned to death by the Sultan on 
account of this book. He was formerly a correspondent of the London 
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That the influence of Abdul-Hamid extends beyond his own kingdom is 
shown, however, by the fact that this book was recently suppressed in 
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usually pass as recent likenesses. 


The United States of America. 

A Study of the American Commonwealth^ its 
Natural Resources^ People^ Industries^ Alanu- 
factures, Com7nerce^ and its Work in Litera- 
ture. Science^ Educatio7i^ and Self- Gov ernme7it. 

Edited by NATHANIEL S. SHALER, S. D., 


In two volumes, royal 8vo. With Maps, and 150 full=page 
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EVERY subject in this comprehensive work is timely, because it is of im- 
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the subject by Professor F. W. Taussig, of Harvard University. Both these 
eminent authorities deal with questions which are uppermost to-day. 


Hon. WILLIAM L. WILSON, Chairman of the Ways and Means Com- 
mittee, Fifty- third Congress. 

Hon. J. R. SO LEY, formerly Assistant Secretary of the Navy. 


Col. T. a. DODGE, U. S. A. 


J. B. Mc MASTER, Professor of History in the University of Pennsylvania. 


Major J. W. POWELL, Director of the United States Geological Survey 
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H. H. BANCROFT, author of ^' Native Races of the Pacific Coast." 

HARRY PRATT JUDSON, Head Dean of the Colleges, Univ. of Chicago. 

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F. W. TAUSSIG, Professor of Political Economy in Harvard University. 



SAMUEL W. ABBOTT, M. D., Sec. State Board of Health, Massachusetts, 


Sold only by subscription. Prospectus, g^iving detailed chapter titles 
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New York : D. APPLETON & CO., 72 Fifth Avenue. 




STATES, 1789-1894. By John Fiske, Carl Schurz, Wil- 
liam E. Russell, Daniel C. Oilman, William Walter 
Phelps, Robert C. Winthrop, George Bancroft, John 
Hay, and Others. Edited by Oen. James Orant Wilson, 
With 23 Steel Portraits, facsimile Letters, and other lilustra 
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States.' "^Philadelphia Press. 

"A valuable addition to both our biographical and historical literature, and meets a 
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** So scholarly and entertaining a presidential biography has never before appeared 
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^The Outlook, 

New York: D. APPLETON & CO., 72 Fifth Avenue. 


The Individual. 

A Study of Life and Death. By Prof. N. S. 
Shaler, of Harvard University. i2mo. Cloth, 


Professor Shaler's book is one of deep and permanent interest. 
In his preface he writes as follows : ** In the following chapters 
I propose to approach the question of death from the point of 
view of its natural history, noting, in the first place, how the 
higher organic individuals are related to those of the lower inor- 
ganic realm of the universe. Then, taking up the organic series, 
I shall trace the progressive steps in the perfection of death by a 
determination as to the length of the individual life and its division 
into its several stages from the time when the body of the indi- 
vidual is separated from the general body of the ancestral Hfe to 
that when it returns to the common store of the earth. ... In 
effect this book is a plea for an educadon as regards the place of 
the individual life in the whole of Nature which shall be consistent 
vdth what we know of the universe. It is a plea for an under- 
standing of the reladons of the person with the realm which is, in 
the fullest sense, his own ; with his fellow-beings of all degrees 
which are his kinsmen ; with the past and the future of which 
he is an integral part. It is a protest against the idea, bred of 
many natural misconcepdons, that a human being is something 
apart from its fellows ; that it is born into the world and dies out 
of it into the loneliness of a supernatural realm. It is this sense 
of isolation which, more than all else, is the curse of life and the 
sting of death." 

** Typical of what we call the new religious literature which is to mark the 
twentieth century. It is pre-eminently serious, tender, and in the truest eense 
Chri stian. * ' — Springfield Republican. 

**■ In these profoundly thoughtful pages the organic history of the individual 
min is so presented as to give him a vision of himself undreamed of in a less 
scientific age. . . . Speaking as a naturalist from study of the facts of Nature, 
Professor Shaler says that these can not be explained * except on the supposition 
that a mighty kinsman of man is at work behind it all." " — The Outlook. 



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